Photo By Jeff Skrenes (top) and John Hoff, bottom
Of course, Lennie still uses that address, even in the email he sent me yesterday. So a few hours ago Jeff thought it would be fun to go to 1901 Glenwood and eyeball the property.
While we were both scrutinizing a mailbox that said "Chism," who should come waltzing out of the door but Lennie "The Heckler" Chism himself...
So Jeff, Lennie and I had a dialogue there on the sidewalk.
Lennie said a lot of things, and if he wants to say a lot more he can use the comment threads. However, Lennie confirmed he no longer owns the building...that it did indeed go into foreclosure for approximately $35,000...but Lennie says he has a "good relationship" with the bank so he keeps "using" the building. The question in my mind was "using it for what?" since there's no business license at the address. Lennie says he doesn't need a business license since he's (and I quote) "not doing anything."
Yeah, I'll say.
Lennie repeated a bunch of his points about the building formerly known as Uncle Bill's, including the idea that his proposal shouldn't be opposed by people who don't have a better alternative. To which I say an empty lot full of grass is a better alternative than a pipe dream blowhard like Lennie trying to run a store at that accursed location, because Lennie doesn't have the jack to pull it off and the whole thing will go sour. To my alternative I would add the following: Swingset. Slide. Monkey bars. And maybe some kind of small farmer's market there on the grass, from time to time.
There. That's my alternative.
Lennie talked about how his "relationships" were going to bring about something good at the old Uncle Bill's location, and claimed to have a "relationship" with MCTC that would be helpful. Lenny went on about how "everybody said" he couldn't buy the building for such a small amount of money, but he had proven them wrong, and proceeded to grandly compare himself to Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurized milk.
I told Lennie he was, in a phrase, absolutely full of bulls**t and I predicted that if anything were sure to doom that building, it was surely Lennie's surprise ownership. I said the comparisons to the situations at Wafana's and Big Stop are painfully obvious and I said he not only lacked enough financial jack, but enough political jack as well. If Lennie could pull off something like what he was proposing at Uncle Bill's, I asked, why couldn't he come up with $35k to save his own headquarters from foreclosure? Why couldn't he replace the window on his building which was full of holes from an air gun?
Oh, wait. He doesn't actually OWN that building. Where's the incentive to fix it? I should have said his FORMER building. But, hey, the bank still allows Lennie to use the building, Lennie says.
Lenny talked a big line about individuals who "just want to tear down instead of build up." As he talked about how he had single-handedly cleaned up the intersection near 1901 Glenwood, a woman who was obviously hooker wandered into view and tried flagging down cars. (Even Lennie appeared to agree she was a hooker, but said if he went there and talked to her, she'd move down the street. I pointed out the same was true if Jeff or I talked to her. Either way, she'd move. While we ignored her and debated, she moved along on her own)
At one point, there was a long discussion about "where does crime go" if it's just "driven out" of a neighborhood, instead of the neighborhood "engaging" individuals to turn their lives around?
I had an answer to that: AWAY. Crime goes AWAY. It goes somewhere else. This is my neighborhood and I have a right to fight for my neighborhood and drive crime out. Neighborhoods change for the better or for the worse, and I have a right to change my neighborhood for the better.
Lennie and I agreed on one thing: the building itself is not responsible for what happened inside. Clearly, it is the people who owned the building who are responsible.
The question becomes "How responsible and capable is Lennie 'The Heckler' Chism?"
One answer appears to be: not capable of saving his own building from foreclosure for a mere $35,000 so what will he do about a House of Horrors like Uncle Bill's? Lennie talked about putting in a "green house" at the location. To which I said (pointing at the window behind Lenny, full of holes from an air gun) "Well, there's a piece of glass you can use...oh, wait, you can't use it! Because it's full of holes and, besides, IT DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU."
Words to that effect.
There's a meeting on this topic tonight at 6:30 at Northpoint, 1313 Penn Ave. N.
Sounds like fun.