Public Zoning Hearing

The case for or against Charybdis Multi-Arts Complex

We went to court on Friday, June 22nd. The prosecutor asked for an extension to amend the charges against us. Basically, through a detailed account of lies made by Alderman Patrick Levar (45th ward) and the city department of Revenue Agents, the so-called "amendments" paint an inaccurate picture. We believe this is a ploy to manufacture a harder case to beat. The city law office stated that the charges against Charybdis are the exact same charges used against illegal Rave parties. Since we do not hold raves, we feel confident in beating the charges. The new court date is Thursday, Sept. 6th at 9:00 AM. It's become obvious that they're trying to sweat us out and drive us into extinction.

A community public zoning forum was held on Wednesday, June 27th. We were wedged into a stifling hot room, selected by Alderman Patrick Levar, with a sign that read: "Occupancy by more than 103 people is unlawful and dangerous." There was easily over 200 people crammed in.

Thank you to all who attended this 3 1/2 hour meeting, we appreciate the tremendous number of people who showed up to voice their support. Just think how many more supporters we could have had, given the proper advance notice!

Thursday, July 5 2001

Realaudio clips from the 6-27 zoning meeting.
(please note) - how quickly the meeting went from a discussion on zoning with the Alderman stating 'Expression is art' and that he wasn't going to decide on the merits of the business in question to a discussion about the merits and moral character of the business in question. Also how often Levar and the police said misinforming things regarding activities depicted on the website (or as Levar likes to call it, 'Gregor's Internet') and where/when those activities took place.

Levar explains his reasons for the meeting
Levar: porn on the internet
Volunteer activites explained
Gregor: how Charybdis began
Gregor: we want to up the ante
Revenue Agent: porn is okay for some neighborhoods
Revenue Agent: more internet misinformation
More confusion regarding age restrictions at the Charybdis building vs. their website
Levar: I reserve the right to promote my constituents' misinformation
Mr. Mayberry
Gregor's rebuttal to Mr. Mayberry
Bottom line: Your kids are safe
Another resident mischaracterization of Gregor.

The entire meeting can be summed up by an 11-year-old resident of Jefferson Park that we met while participating in the JEFF FEST Community festival on June 23rd & 24th.


Mr. Levar,

I am sorry I left your meeting early. Everyone was being so rude and I knew you would never call on me to speak. You asked so many times that everyone be polite and respect everyone else's opinion. They did not.

I came to the meeting with my parents because Charybdis is important to me and because I believed that every voice in the community needed to and would be heard on the subject. I was told this was why there are town meetings, so every voice can be heard and valued. I was told that town meetings were so our elected officials could better represent us. I was told that every voice, no matter how small, or who it belonged to was important.

If this is how adults behave and this is how things get done, it doesn't surprise me why not a lot gets done.

I found out after, that my mom read the speech I took the time to write, that I wanted to say myself, but as I said, you never would have called on me and the adults were behaving so badly and had you called on me, no one would have heard me over the adults who were booing and hissing.

I learned a lot last night. First I learned that even when asked many times to respect one another and let everyone speak, adults behave much worse than children. I learned that with politics you hide issues under other issues and call it something else and discuss things that don't seem to relate to what you even write down that you are going to talk about like the zoning and the Amusement License. I learned that with adults, it always comes down to sex. No matter what, adults always have to turn things to sex and the internet. Do adults really have no other real points to ever make?

To the parents that were talking about their kids being able to see things on the internet. I think this is another issue all together, but I also want to know why these parents don't know what their kids are doing. Mine do. Everything. They see everything, hear everything, know everything.

To the man who said we live in Mayberry. I don't know where that is, but my parents told me about the TV show it came from, and sir, I live at Montrose and Milwaukee, and that image isn't what I think of. If I walk my dog, or go to the Lucky Pantry, I am always looking over my shoulder.

I enclosed my speech for you to read and think about because I still want to believe every voice is important to you.


Thank you for letting me speak.

I am 11 years old, I am part of this community. I am one of those you are trying to protect. I do not know about zoning laws or politics. I know what I enjoy, I know what is fun, and I know what is safe. I am a knitter in pursuit of a Master knitters title from the Knitting Guild of America. I design my own creations, I select the fiber, the stitch, the colors. All of this I could not have even tried if adults who enjoy knitting hadn't taken the time to teach me about all aspects of the art of knitting.

I am at an age where peer pressure is becoming intense. My mom says it will get worse. To not have a place like Charybdis, locally, leaves me no where within walking distance to go to explore and learn about and enjoy all forms of art. It means a great deal to me to have something so wonderful so close. I don't drive, my parents work, so getting to the Art Institute isn't possible on my own.

The artists I have met from Charybdis have been so nice and helpful. They have never offered me drugs or alcohol. I feel completely safe when with them. I can learn about things that my mom and dad don't know and I can't get from a book, but can learn from other adults who are willing to share their time and talent with me. If you close Charybdis, where am I to learn about all the wonderful and different aspects art has to offer? As a child, I need your protection. From drug dealers, from unsafe neighborhoods, from gangs, from internet predators. Please focus on that rather than shutting down what is important and safe and fun and educational for me.

Best regards,
And the Children Shall Lead Them

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