Small business owners feel at mercy of aldermen

April 5, 2011

Tim Van Le and Imre Hidvegi remember their fight with city hall several years ago.

“We really felt like we had no word,” Tim Van Le of Lincoln Square’s Decorium Furniture told WBEZ about a push by Ald. Eugene Schulter to seize his block through eminent domain.

‘”Three and a half years later, he still heaves a sigh when he describes how it felt knowing he might have to relinquish his store,” the report says.

George Fink is president of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. He says he senses fear on the part of small business owners.

“That’s the general feeling in the public that oh well, we can’t do anything unless we go through the alderman to do it,” Fink said. “Is that a good feeling for free people? No, I don’t think so.”

WBEZ says Elizabeth Milnikel agrees. She’s researched the regulatory environment in Chicago as part of her work as director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. It’s a law clinic with a libertarian bent that works with lower-income entrepreneurs. She says Chicago’s political system vests too much control in each individual alderman.

Read more at WBEZ.


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One Response to Small business owners feel at mercy of aldermen

  1. sneighbor on April 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I have not forgotten Nick Toma, who wanted to fix up an abandoned building but was blocked. He was eventually bought out at 1.3 million and now there is an unused lot.

    Let’s not forget. The only thing that stopped it before was community involvement. What is the new vision for Lincoln Square beyond “condos” with storefronts that can’t be rented? What is the business community, in cooperation with the community’s view of desired development? How is to be paid for and how do we keep the business that give our community character? Will it change? What does the community think?