offered Dec 3rd, 11am by Dr. Lora
I am offering another compromise on the housing situation in order to resolve tensions, address as many concerns as possible, (not all, that is clearly impossible but as many as possible) and move the housing situation forward.
In preparation of my compromise, I am going to reproduce a list of issues in the current lease for 500 w. Cermak from a Occ Chi member named Jackie;
Here is Jackie's statement on the lease...I have no idea who Jackie is...:
So I sat down with my dad last night and he read through the lease for
Cermak with me and I took notes on everything he said. It’s a lot,
but we should know our lease inside and out before we sign it, so I
included all of the notes. Overall he said this is a very standard
lease, but there are a few things we need to negotiate or obtain more
details on before we sign the lease. Here are the notes. They are in
order that they occur in the lease. I put asterisks by the stuff my
dad (and I) thought were important.
• We must pay rent before the first day of each month. If our lease
ends on any day other than the last day of the month, we must pay in
full. The landlord does not prorate the rent.
• If we do not pay be the rent before the first of the month (the
first of the month is considered late) we are subjected to a $75 late
fee, as well as prime plus ten percent on the rent we owe. Prime
refers the the prime interest rate set by wall street and ten percent
is added to whatever the prime rate is for that day. If we pay the
rent late, we are in violation of our lease and the landlord can kick
us out, without notice, at any time.
• If a check is returned, it is a $45 fee.
• *****CAM fees (CAM stands for common area maintenance). CAM
includes real estate taxes, maintenance, janitorial services, elevator
operations, snow removal, etc…The landlord (if I remember correctly)
stated that everything is included in the rent. However, there is a
potential CAM fee which could be detrimental. $2.00 per square foot
is included in our rent for CAM. However, we are responsible for
anything that exceeds $2.00 per square foot. My dad has seen CAMS in
the city as high as $14 and $15 per square foot. This would be on top
of our monthly rent. Some CAMS are early and some are monthly. We
must look into this. Ask other tenants in the building what they have
paying (if anything) for CAMS. We don’t want to move in and then be
hit with a giant CAM fee. *****
• *****We get the property in “as is” condition. It must be
maintained to this condition. If the landlord does any repairs on the
property (with or without out approval) we are responsible for the
bill, if full. My dad said this is NOT normal. We should put a
provision in that says the landlord will not make any unnecessary
changes without written approval from us, or he is responsible for the
bill. This would obviously not cover something we caused that must be
fixed (a hole in the wall, for example).*****
• *****We have access to the freight elevator at times subject to a
calendar that we make with the landlord*. If we operate the elevator
without the landlord, we can terminate our lease and fine us $100 per
incident. This is something we should negotiate. Later in the lease
it talks about the elevator, so I am going to include those notes
here. *The operation costs to use the elevator outside our calendar
times is $50 an hour. The problem is that the lease says what the
calendar that we agree to is: Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. My
dad said that if we are concerned, we should outline when we would
want to have access to the elevator and negotiate the times with the
• We must use Pro-Com for all wiring, telephone lines, wifi for
computers etc… We cannot just put in our own phone system. We must use
Pro-Coms. Also, we cannot add any phones or wifi without the
• We can only use outlets in our space. If we need more outlets, the
landlord will put them in but we pay the bill.
• We cannot change the inside at all without the landlord’s
permission. We must also have all necessary permits and use
• *****We cannot keep anything in the property that violates the
landlord’s insurance policy. We must get a list of all of these items
that we cannot have before we sign the lease. We have some stuff in
storage that might be deemed dangerous (I know the portable stove with
the propane canisters for one). This problem can be easily fixed, but
we just need to know the list ahead of time and not bring those items
• We are subjected to all ordinances and fire codes. We are
responsible for any costs that the building or landlord might
accumulate for abiding by those codes. (For example, if we have a lot
of people in the property and face a fire inspection, we might have to
increase the number of fire extinguishers in the place. We must pay
for those fire extinguishers).
• We are required to carry insurance and liability. The insurance
must contain a waiver of subrogation that must be approved by the
landlord’s attorney. We are also required to carry though the period
of the lease not less than $1,000,000 single incident or $3,000,000
per year coverage. My dad said we should look into that ASAP because
insurance people might be reluctant to insure us.
• We are required to carry more insurance if the landlord deems it
necessary for the amount of people we have on a regular basis.
• We cannot paint without the consent of the landlord, and consent
must be in writing.
• We cannot add any dividers, walls, cubicles, etc…without the
approval of the plans from an architect.
• *****We cannot put up any signs without the consent of the
• *****We cannot get into the building at any time. We must use a
keypass. The building is not open to the public; we must “buzz in”
people visiting. This could make it hard for people to just “stop
• ******Unless specifically outlines in the lease, and it is NOT
included in our lease, we cannot have any food services (or
telecommunications or data processing services). Food services
include feeding anyone not directly working in the space. Violation
of this can result in our eviction. So if we feed the people at HQ,
it will be in violation of our lease. We must get this amended so
that we can cook food. The problem with that is we will then be
subjected to the regulations and inspections for operating a kitchen.
This looks like it could be a big problem. Maybe one of you have an
idea to solve this problem.*******
• *******Landlord can terminate our lease at anytime with 30 days
notice. My dad said we should negotiate this because the landlord
could theoretically face pressure by certain officials to kick us
out. I don’t know who the landlord is or if he would let us stay
despite potential pressure. So we should negotiate this.*******
• The landlord can show the property to prospective tenants when out
lease is almost up.
• *******If our lease expires and we are still there, the landlord can
declare us a holdover tenant and extend out lease for a year, without
our approval. We would then be responsible for the next year’s
• We cannot sublet without landlord’s approval.
• We can’t park in the loading dock.
• Trash is to be picked up at a fee of $25 per time
• No animals or pets of any kind are allowed in the building, except
for service animals.
So that is it for now. If anyone needs anymore legal help, on
property issues, or has more questions, let me know and I will ask my
dad. I don’t know if we want to work out provisions for the lease at
the next meeting, but it might not be a bad thing to do as a group.
My dad also said to remind everyone the following: A lease is a
negotiable document, so do not accept it in the terms that it states,
unless you like all of those terms. The landlord expects
negotiations. But that doesn’t mean the landlord will change
This from Dr. Lora;
This compromise is predicated on the possibly that we can resolve the issues in this list of problems with the lease at 500 W. Cermak found above.
I propose that there be 2 Housing committees created, Housing committee 1 (a continuance of the present Housing committee) and Housing committee 2 to continue to look at other properties for a more generally acceptable HQ for Occ Chi. This future HQ shall be, if possible, in a centralized location with high visibility. These committees would also be tasked with finding satellite locations. Members can only belong to 1 of these committees and not to both. If a member leaves one of the committees to join the other, the member would have to wait a minimum of 2 weeks (14 days) before being allowed to vote in their newly chosen committee. These committees would be tasked to bring forward properties for consideration to the GAs. The recommendations from both committees will be handled equally, fairly and timely by the GA.
Although many of us find the 500 W. Cermak property substandard and problematic for many reasons, we recognize that many at Occ Chi like this property. Therefore I propose that we rent 1 room at 500 W. Cermak, the least expensive room possible, with a sitting capacity of at least 75, and some secure storage as needed, as soon as possible. We shall rent the room that is the least expensive and most appropriate to house a few of the committee meetings, events, art projects, media and teach ins but not the GAs. I propose we rent this room on a month to month basis. No proposals for renting additional space regarding 500 W. Cermak shall be considered in the future. Only "in kind" donations of additional space at 500 W. Cermak will be considered, with the donor willing to sign the lease and take full responsibility, without any significant additional costs to Occ Chi being agreed upon.
Only those committees where 90% of the members vote to meet at 500 W. Cermak will be scheduled at Cermak, if 20% or greater of the members of a committee, meeting at Cermak, vote to move from Cermak for any reason, then a new site will be chosen as soon as possible and the committee will be scheduled at this new site, further moves to other off sites would be as per the regular rules of that particular committee. All committee meetings which are presently held in satellite sites that choose to stay at the those satellite sites can remain as scheduled.
I propose that all official Occ Chi records, monies and documents be kept for storage at the 8th Day Center for Peace and Justice in a secure location until we can find a more secure HQ, going forward we will not consider 500 W. Cermak a secure location.
I propose that all members of Occ Chi who attend any meetings at 500 W. Cermak sign in and out of any and all meetings there, that these sign in sheets are kept as part of our official records and that attendees produce some form of picture ID or if no picture ID, then several pieces of non-picture ID, that will be copied if seen as necessary by the attendees of the meetings. This would allow background checks on attendees at Cermak, if the attendees of meetings at Cermak choose to pursue background checks of any member it must be with a vote of 50% plus 1, of those who are attending the meeting. Passage of this vote will then cause a background check to be pursued in a timely fashion.
I propose that the 4 GAs a week, including the GA where voting on proposals is scheduled, be arranged in different communities other than Chinatown, so that a regular schedule of these GAs is worked out. Sites can be offered for consideration by the GA by both Housing committees. One of these sites would be a central location and this would be the GA where regular voting on proposals is scheduled.
I propose that we change the schedule of the GAs to include a Thurs or Sunday evening as soon as possible and we schedule this GA to be the "voting" GA, this GA would be scheduled at the UE Hall at 37 S. Ashland for $50 a night until a more acceptable location can be arranged. It is also possible to arrange a potluck or dinner at this location the same night as the GA and have this dinner-social hour start as early as 6pm. No alcohol would be allowed and we would have to provide all paper goods, cookware, utensils, plates, cups and glasses, we would also have to set up and clean up the hall, sweeping and mopping only if we spill something. Our disabled sisters and brothers can be assisted, if necessary, on the ramp to enter and exit the UE Hall. Motorized vehicles can make it up the ramp per the director of the facility but wheel chairs sometimes need assistance. We would also have to assist them to the bathrooms in the basement if necessary but we would also warn them on the website and in announcements that access t bathrooms would be difficult during these GAs and for them to please plan ahead if at all possible. We can assure them that their comfort is a priority with us and the assistance of any and all members of Occ Chi, who are capable of assisting, would be offered.
As soon as more acceptable locations for the GAs are found, including other Union Halls, then the schedule of the GAs can be changed again. I propose that both the Housing 1 committee and the Housing 2 committee continue to fan out and make connections with like minded advocacy groups and Unions around Chicago in an attempt at securing regular, low cost, adequate, safe, handicapped accessible rooms for 4 GAs a week that would include a centralized location for the one "voting" GA per week and spread out into other Chicago neighborhoods for the other 3 GAs a week. I propose that we give priority to spaces that are close to mass transit, near available cheap parking, have a capacity of at least 150-200 if not greater, some kitchen facilities available or allowing for food to be brought in and if at all possible associated with our closest and strongest allies throughout the city. No alcohol would be allowed at these GAs. This schedule of the 4 GAs a week would then be listed prominently on the homepage of our website and announced regularly to minimize confusion.
I propose that Occ Chi get an umbrella liability-insurance policy as soon as possible which would cover injuries and loss of property secondary to vandalism, burglary, violent acts, accidents and acts of nature such as snow, etc to cover our events throughout the city. This policy should be approved of by our lawyer prior to purchase.
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UE is not, in any way, an accessible space. Telling people that they can only attend general assemblies if they, and their chairs, are carried up and down a significant flight of stairs every time they want to use the bathroom is not an acceptable compromise. I don't even think that the stalls in the basement bathroom are wide enough for wheelchairs to enter. Are you going to carry folks in and out of the stalls? This isn't just a theoretical issue. Members of the disability community have participated in Occupy Chicago, at marches, and in actions, like the social security and medicare civil disobedience last month. It's a huge disrespect to them to pick a space that excludes them from the general assemblies.
I'm also REALLY concerned about the proposal to check ID's for folks who want to use the Cermak space. This provides a barrier to young folks, who might not have drivers licenses or picture IDs, and to undocumented folks. It just seems like a needlessly complicated system that is sure to alienate people interested in getting involved. If having a buzzer on the door would discourage people from "dropping by" than how is checking several forms of ID at the door a welcoming policy?
I'm mostly an OC lurker, because I myself have a disability that makes it difficult for me to attend general assemblies. I'm really hoping that you're able to put your disagreements behind you and come up with an indoor, accessible space where more people are able to participate fully in the movement.
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