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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In Defense of Santiago

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2006 at 2:41 PM

As a small business owner in an under-developed city, I appreciate the work of my councilman, Joe Santiago [New Guy, August 2]. As a business owner in the Lincoln Heights/Starkweather "block club," I have watched all the businesses on my block go under the microscope by the resident-run block club. Business owners here are banned from membership, unlike the other 10 block clubs in Tremont. The small-business owners I know are hard-working people who don't make much more money than our neighbors. The former Starkweather Bar is owned by a family man with two children who has been persuing a dream of owning a restaurant in the gateway of Tremont for the last two years. His dream restaurant would be open today if the residents would realize that change is good. Crime is everywhere, not just in front of bars and nightclubs. Its more shocking that Henry Sunyak is opposed to business, considering he lives in a former dry-cleaning storefront that sits vacant. One day he'll probably sell and won't be complaining when he gets the check. I have watched Tremont grow over the last decade from a crime ridden, bum hang-out to a small community filled with live, young professionals, empty-nesters and students. The pro-active residents in Tremont work hard to keep our neighborhood nice and volunteer for crime watches, fundraisers, gardening the parks, etc. I agree it is hard for lifetime residents to watch Tremont change, but sometimes change is necessary. We are not living in 1950, and unless we want Tremont to take a plunge like the flats have, we need to keep up the hard work. Becca Riker Cleveland

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