AN OPEN LETTER TO 8TH WARD ALDERMAN MICHELLE HARRIS: We are “Deeply Disappointed” in the Weak Show of Support You Displayed at the Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing

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From: The EIGHTH WARD ACCOUNTABILITY COALITION   630-542-7320 lhudson426@sbcglobal.net

August 22, 2015

Dear Alderman Harris,

Speaking on behalf of your 8th Ward constituents, we are deeply disappointed in the weak show of support you displayed at the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on August 21st for the proposed Harborside-IGM medical marijuana dispensary at 1111 E. 87th Street.  You asked for a vote from the residents so you could gather an accurate measure of the support or opposition to the dispensary and, as we understand from your staff, the votes in opposition outnumbered those in support by a huge margin.    As such, we expected a much stronger statement from you regarding the dispensary. Given the overwhelming opposition by the residents of the 8th Ward, we expected you to declare in a clear and concise statement that you opposed the dispensary coming to your ward and no longer supported the Harborside-IGM proposal in any way.  When asked by Chairman Swain for your comment, you said only that you stood with your community.  That was simply not good enough.

One of your colleagues, Alderman Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward, was recently faced with this same situation – a medical marijuana dispensary was proposed for a location within his ward.  The differences in the way each of you have handled the matter could not be more striking.   Alderman Tunney not only advised his constituents about the proposed dispensary but he held two community meetings giving residents the opportunity to hear from the company and their proposed operation.  He posted information on his web site about the company and their proposal.  There was no secrecy or deliberate omissions of the facts when the Alderman was asked about proposed businesses in his ward.  When his constituents stated their opposition, he withdrew his support and made a strong statement to the Zoning Board of Appeals which resulted in the necessary special use permit being denied.

Had you made a similarly strong statement yesterday, advised the Zoning Board that your constituents had conclusively voted against the dispensary and actually stated that you were withdrawing your support, the Zoning Board could have possibly denied the Harborside-IGM request for a special use permit then, instead of granting another continuance.  The continuance was granted on the basis of further outreach taking place.  Alderman Harris, your constituents understand medical marijuana and know what is being proposed.  They have stated their opposition in the clearest of terms:  they do not think the location or the company is in the best interests of 8th Ward residents.  Further outreach will not change their minds and to ask for another vote is outrageous.   It is time to honor the will of your constituents. WE ASK THAT YOU TELL THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS THAT HARBORSIDE-IGM IS NOT WELCOME IN THE 8TH WARD. We demand nothing less of you to end this matter once and for all.

Respectfully,

THE EIGHTH WARD ACCOUNTABILITY COALITION

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