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…So, it’s happened: all-out war on Logan Square. Since we started this little battle to protect our ‘hood, Logan Square now has 6 (SIX!) approved pawn shops – the most in the City. When did this little neighborhood of middle class people, largely Hispanic, and a scattering of hipsters become such a tasty morsel for predatory businesses? Since our Alderman, Rey Colon, declared Open Season on the people of this community.

Reading a conversation on EveryBlock, I was surprised to see, once again, misinformation on how Pawn Shops are regulated and approved. For the record: the law says NO Pawn Shops without special permission by the Zoning Board, the Zoning Board of Approvals takes the Alderman’s word for it, the police only regulate after 30 days (often searching fake information for the “owner” of stolen goods – keep those serial numbers EXTREMELY HANDY, Residents!) the police are already overwhelmed in these precincts and some have spoken publicly against pawn shops here (at the ZBA hearing) and the people who live here are against it.

Unfortunately, the Alderman is not against it (or cares not). All we can do at this point, with so many powerful people alligned against us, is vote “YES” on the referendum currently on the ballot in precincts 23 and 35 of the 35th ward (Election day is March 20 – but Early Voting has already begun!) and convince the Aldermen to stand up for our community, send these predatory, out-of-state corporations packing, and insist that our representatives uphold the LAW on this issue. Right now, all businesses of this nature need special permission to open. THERE IS A REASON FOR THAT. Please check out “No Pawn Shops in Logan Square” on Facebook and a new, neighborhood association blog for the brand new FANA – the Fullerton Avenue Neighbors Association.

And don’t freaking give up! THEY need special permission – we LIVE here! We can still have a say in what makes our neighborhood. Wouldn’t you rather have more great book shops, record shops, coffee shops and other positive businesses in our ‘hood? Not some predatory, Hispanic-seeking shady bomb of a business? Because even if their tactics were not enough to worry you, their record-making profits during this economic downturn should make you pause. Upwards of 400% interest APR on signature loans? Twenty percent on pawns? The ONLY people who profit are the criminals. Invite them into your community at your own risk… unless, of course, you are a protected member of the city government. The Alderman may be a great guy to drink and chat with – but he is dead WRONG on this. And it’s the rest of us who will suffer.

More to come – lots more. Plase spread the word – this fight is about to get interesting.

It is YOUR Property values, YOUR crime rate, YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS’ insurance premium that are about to suffer…. if ever there was a time to shout it loud, this is it. You will not shout alone, I promise.