You've got to admit Chase Ingersoll thinks outside the box. He's apparently gone down to the Peoria County Circuit Court and filed a suit under the Controlled Substance and Cannabis Nuisance Act. The plaintiff? The Peoria Housing Authority.
The suit is an attempt to get the PHA to abate the drug use problem at Taft Homes.
It's easy to conclude that this is Chase's way to prove a point about how the city treated his friend, Kris Jain, the owner of the Grandview Hotel. Chase is the first to admit the site has problems, but he thinks the city targeted Jain when there are worse offenders out there.
Chase has a point on that score.
But he's not alone when it comes to taking Taft to court. There are folks on the Peoria City Council who wanted the city to do the same thing, but the city's administration didn't think it work.
What Chase's lawsuit against the PHA does is point out a little hypocrisy on the part of government. We have the City of Peoria taking the owner of a hotel to court and closing him down for continuing to rent to marijuana users. Yet we have the Peoria Housing Authority -- whose members are appointed by the City of Peoria, running a housing project that's an open-air drug market.
And I guarantee you one thing: The criminals who live and operate out of Taft Homes have caused more havoc and human suffering to the residents of the Near North Side than the shabby down-and-outers ever caused to the more affluent residents of the Prospect Point neighborhood.
Will this tactic work? We'll see. What is certain is that nothing else has worked. And one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over in the belief that it will accomplish a different result. Obviously, some innovative solution is needed. But it seems sometimes that we've got a city hall convinced that nothing that hasn't been done before is worth trying at all.
Here's the test of the suit:
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE TENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
COUNTY OF PEORIA, STATE OF ILLINOIS
On behalf of the People of the State of Illinois )
CHASE INGERSOLL )
vs. ) 2005 CH __ __ __
Peoria Housing Authority, )
Roger John as Director )
Unknown Occupants, )
The property known as: )
“Taft Homes” “Bayview Gardens” or by any other )
name, located between the Illinois River, NE )
Adams Street, I 74 and Wayne Street )
NOTICE OF THE EXISTENCE OF A DRUG NUISANCE
(740 ILCS 40/) Controlled Substance and Cannabis Nuisance Act, you are hereby advised that acts and conditions that are in violation of the Controlled Substance and Cannabis Nuisance Act have taken place on the premises within the last year, not limited to yet unidentified residences, but particularly the commonly used areas of the property, and that upon information and belief the same violations of law are present as of the date of this notice.
Pursuant to statute you are hereby advised to present yourself to the Office of the State’s Attorney of Peoria County within 14 days of receipt of this notice, having abated said nuisance or to otherwise present a plan consistent with statute to abate said nuisance.
If you fail to take such action within 14 days on behalf of the People of the State of Illinois, I will file suit requesting that the Court order for the abatement of the property for up to one year, and any other remedy as provided for by statute.
Chase Ingersoll, a resident of Peoria County,
and Plaintiff on behalf of the People of the State of