Brickbat: They Tell Me You Are Wicked and I Believe Them


wheelchair ramp
Chernetskaya /

A couple's plans to convert an empty building in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood into a home for their family has met resistance from some neighbors. The couple wants to add a garage with wheelchair ramp and elevator for their daughter, who uses a wheelchair. But some neighbors will oppose the plans before the zoning appeals board, saying the garage is not in keeping with the historic nature of the neighborhood. "I understand that the people who purchased the house have a child that requires special needs," Steve Weiss, president of the Old Town Triangle Association, wrote in a letter to his alderman. "What I don't understand is why they chose to buy a house in a Landmark Zone when you have these needs. I don't mean to be heartless or uncaring but this is not the neighborhood for that. Here you conform to the rules, not the other way around."

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  1. I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring

    Uh…yes. Yes, you do. You mean to put the aesthetics of your neighborhood above the needs of a physically challenged child. You mean to demand government coercion to accomplish that. That is heartless and uncaring.

    1. Beat me to it Vernon. This guy’s demands are the definition of heartless and uncaring. “Landmark Zone”, indeed.

    2. “That is heartless and uncaring.”

      It’s much, much more than that…it’s evil, and Steve Weiss and his assorted enablers are evil too.

      1. It’s much, much more than that…it’s evil

        Most people think evil means Nazis and terrorists and murderers. Those are the kinds of things that everyone can agree on as evil. This is actually something even worse than that. Call it “the banality of everyday evil.”

        Using zoning rules and government regulations to crush a family’s plans to accommodate their disabled daughter’s wheelchair? It doesn’t get much worse than that as far as “everyday evil” goes. Unfortunately this kind of shit happens everyday, probably to thousands of people across the country, and the perpetrators sleep soundly at night because they think their actions were all for “the greater good” so their consciences are clean. They give zero fucks about the individual people who are ground up by the machinery of the state and whose lives are made far worse because of their actions. If this Steve Weiss guy were to have an unfortunate woodchipper accident, I’d be hard pressed to shed a tear over his ass.

    3. She doesn’t mean to be, she just is.

  2. “To garner support for their plan, they sought the approval of historic agencies, including the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the city’s Historic Preservation division and a curator for the Art Institute of Chicago. The two agencies and the curator approved of the plan.”

    So they (Chicago-related humor deleted), and that still wasn’t good enough?

    “At one point, the association suggested an underground garage, too, which the family said was not feasible. The association argues it is feasible if the family is willing to spend more money.”

    Simplicity itself!

    “The couple said the neighborhood group’s opposition is especially troubling because the neighborhood was once home to Dr. Henry Betts, a physician that championed disabled rights and helped establish many accommodations for disabled people.”

    Which turns out to be true:

    1. If they want to be passive-aggressive, they could petition the State Historical Society to put a historic marker near Dr. Betts’ old house.

    2. “At one point, the association suggested an underground garage, too, which the family said was not feasible. The association argues it is feasible if the family is willing to spend more money.”

      Maybe that’s the real issue here: this family is “too poor” for their neighborhood and they’re just using this as an excuse to keep out “those kinds of people.” These are probably the kind of prog-tards for whom caring about the poor means agitating for higher taxes on the rich (but not themselves, those “bad” rich people, not good caring progressives such as themselves). IOW, it’s just a pose that they adopt to make themselves look and feel better, an abstract concept. Ask them to go volunteer at a soup kitchen or something and they’ll probably tell you they’d love to, but they’re “too busy.”

  3. I wonder if Black people were allowed to live in that neighborhood when it was built. And did they have electricity? If they want historical authenticity, they might have a lot more work to do than just excluding handicapped children.

    1. Historical Preservation is all too often an excuse for NIMBY. My late Mother was an Architectural historian by avocation, and deeply involved in preservation efforts , yet as early as the 1970’s she found herself opposing the tendency to preserve anything just because it was old. One of her struggles involved opposing marking as ‘landmark’ some mid-19th Century worker housing that (in her words) was ‘bug ugly when it was built, and has been getting worse for a century”. And once of her favorite stories was about the New England town that had a ‘historical preservation’ covenant requiring that the towns colonial era houses be maintained in the ‘original’ white paint and green trim, when inexpensive white pain was an innovation of the Victorian era, and thus historically incorrect.

      1. Sounds like Hingham, MA where I grew up.

        No multi-colored Christmas lights either, serfs!

    2. To make it historically accurate they should tear it all down and clear the entire area.

      1. Wigwams only.

        1. I used to have these recurring nightmares… I’d be a tee-pee, then a wigwam. A tee-pee, then a wigwam Again! Over and over and over again!

          I went to see my shrink… “Doctor, Doctor, what does it all MEAN??!”

          Herr Docktor stroked his chin thoughtfully for a few moments, in his Deepest Freudian manner… And then announced, “SQRLSY One, I think that it means that you’re two tents! Calm down and relax, now, will ya!?!?”

          1. I had a dream of a field filled with tee-pees, followed by a field filled with nylon dome tents, followed by a field of strange looking igloo shaped contraptions made of a strange silvery fabric, that self erected from a box the size of shoe box.

            It was past tents, present tents, and future tents.

            1. Excellent, well done!!!!

  4. “I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring” it just comes naturally.

  5. What I don’t understand is why they chose to buy a house in a Landmark Zone when you have these needs. I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring but this is not the neighborhood for that.

    “In historic times the handicap were shunned and we like to stay with that tradition.”

  6. But if the couple and their handicapped daughter were illegal sub-humans, then all of this would be A-OK all around! Der TrumpfenFuhrer told me so!

    1. You should probably move to central America.
      Seems like you’d be happier there.

  7. Under other circumstances the government would force property owners to provide handicapped access. Principles shminciples.

    1. Maybe that’s the answer: they should convert the lower floor of the house to a business, then they would be required by law to provide a handicapped entrance.

      Probably wouldn’t work though, the neighborhood is most likely zoned for residential only.

    2. As a guy currently using PT and a prosthetic leg to learn to walk again, I can tell you the magic of the words “Americans with Disabilities Act.” Everybody folds when confronted by it because failing to make “reasonable accommodations” makes the organization, the supervisors, the management, and you *personally* liable.
      Even the State of Virginia bows and scrapes before ADA’s requirements.

  8. Neighbors are often a total pain in the ass; if they can see or hear you they can fuck with you. Thus I do not live in town.

  9. “I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring but this is not the neighborhood for that. “

    He’s not wrong, you know. Considering what evil, self-righteous bastards the nosy neighbors are, it’s a terrible neighborhood in which to raise a child.

    1. First time one of the neighbors sees the kid rolling down the street by herself in her wheelchair, they’ll probably call the cops. Busybody NIMBY fucks.

  10. “Here you conform to the rules, not the other way around.”

    So what will he say when the rules get changed? Maybe by a court that has read the ADA?

    1. Exactly right! My wife now has hearing aids and I’m learning to walk again. ADA is a nice bit of leverage. Having a handicapped placard isn’t quite like a Double-O number, but it will do.

  11. It would be interesting if someone could check to see in which party the heartless Mr. Steve Weiss is registered to vote.

  12. I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring…

    …this is just pure talent.

  13. It sure would be unfortunate if something happened to put Steve Weiss in a wheelchair.

    1. I was thinking an unfortunate woodchipper “accident” but that would even more karmic justice.

    2. After last week’s storms there’s a lot of woodchipping going on…

  14. “”I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring but this is not the neighborhood for that. Here you conform to the rules, not the other way around.””‘

    Is there a landmark zone exemption to the ADA?

  15. The Zoning Board of Appeals had a meeting last Friday, during which they delayed a decision for another month.

  16. I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring…

    But you have to play to your strengths.

    These buttheads should be happy somebody is willing to move into Chicago and Illinois considering the pension tsunami bearing down on the state.

  17. Chicago had a law stating that diseased, maimed and ugly people were not allowed in public. It was on the books until 1974,

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