Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Construction On Failed Housing Model Begins

All the new construction in Wilson Yard isn't only for the new Target that's allegedly coming our way. Ald. Shiller recently announced that the Target would open in 2010, and the housing before that. You can see the construction cranes working on the foundations of the 100% low-income housing right now, at Montrose and Broadway. FixWilsonYard has said that the lawsuit will be filed in November, and it can't come a moment too soon. If you haven't donated yet, please consider doing it now. (Tax deduction for 2008, too.)


  1. Helen, you were stunned at the reaction about Labor Ready. Just you wait. You won't know what happened until after it's over.

  2. There have been a number of stories in the national media about affordable housing as of late. I could dig up links if people would like but the general gist is that municipalities, non-profits and HUD are taking this housing market as an opportunity to purchase distressed properties, fix them up and increase the inventory of low-income units.

    I have commented before that WY is not necessarily doomed to be a failure just because it is a high-density low-income housing project. With proper & consistent on-site management, tenant selection, a well-functioning tenant board and a zero-tolerance policy against non lease holding occupants, many issues could be mitigated. However, given the facts that 1) we know about only income ceilings but no floors; 2) Helen's stance against background checks for substance abuse and felonies; and 3) the "first dibs" right of CHA waitlisters, there is legitimate reason for local residents to be concerned that all of their claims about this project will not materialize. Also, there is no reason for the public not to know what the rents will be and if there will be political will to enforce evictions.

    If supporters of WY have not been swayed by the arguments regarding government transparency, the misuse of TIFs, or the inequities in how different wards across the city deal with affordable housing, then I would suggest more attention needs to be paid to how much this project is costing. Who really benefits from pursuing more low-income housing units in the WY model?

  3. "like but the general gist is that municipalities, non-profits and HUD are taking this housing market as an opportunity to purchase distressed properties, fix them up and increase the inventory of low-income units."

    Considering a quick search of area code 60640 reveals at least 50 foreclosures,this is the action that makes sense. But making senses and making cents aren't the same thing......

  4. Oh, and you can forget about the Target being there.

  5. people, get online and donate to fix wilson yard people and/or encourage friends/family/neighbors to do the same... the elections are over and the small donations that headed in the direction of the campaigns can now go in the direction of fighting one of the nastiest, lopsided political establishments in the city.

  6. Yep it's a total shock that Target is going to open AFTER the housing. I'm sure no one saw that one coming.

    Can anyone else picture the retail space sitting there empty and decaying for months or years after the housing is completed?

  7. From today's Wall Street Journal in the Marketplace section:

    "In another effort to preserve cash as the nation's economic outlook darkens, Minneapolis-based Target said it is reining in store openings for 2010, a move that will reduce its 2009 capital spending to $3 billion from $4 billion."

    This is not good news whatsoever. Edgewater Crime Blotter is correct in his assumption that we are going to have an empty space where crime will happen by the minute.

    But at the least there will be top of the line housing that taxpayers paid for!

  8. From Helen's website...
    RE: Wilson Yard

    Why use TIF?

    [1]The increase in the amount of taxes generated can be used to fund needed public improvements such as repairs to streets, sidewalks, and sewer systems, and beautification programs like lighting and streetscaping. [2]TIF funds are also used as incentives to attract new businesses and retain existing businesses or help them expand. [3]New business means more jobs, more customers, more investment in the neighborhoods and more taxes collected that, for the 23-year life of the TIF, are invested directly back into the neighborhood.

    I've insterted the bracketed numbers to make reference easier. Do you suppose it took a lot of TIF dollars to buy the trees recently planted? I haven't seen much else going on regarding lights, sidewalks, etc.[1] So I guess mid-rise low income housing is going to attact new business? (tax-paying kind)[2] I guess the tens maybe hundreds of dollars resulting from all the new low-income residents will spur new jobs and investment in the community. [3]

  9. Again.... I would just like to reiterate that Target is reining in spending for 2009 by not opening its stores for 2010.

  10. I would imagine Target would have to have committed some money upfront in order for this project to move forward. Just because they are reducing store openings in 2010 doesn't mean they will stop them completely. Retailers will close some stores, while opening others at the same time. It all depends where they see an opportunity for income and growth. Then factor in other items (eg, tax breaks) and some stores will operate at a higher profit than others.

  11. Target did not have to commit any money whatsoever to this development nor did Peter Holstein.

    It's 100% financed because of all the TIF money that was given to the project and the banks can't lose because the City can't stop payment since the last resolution in the finance committee.

  12. I say no to the low income housing at wilson year and all the crime that comes with it too.

  13. When the alderman talks to God what does she say?

    Does she pray for bettering our lives and paving the way?

    It's hard to imagine that she cares about each and everyone.

    Not when those who care about Uptown the most seem to get shunned.

    Not when she lives in a safer neighborhood from above.

    Not when she gives sleazy developers so much love.

    Not when she's told us "this isn't your college campus."

    Not when her salary comes from our taxes.

    When Shiller meets God he'll probably say...

    You're a horrible wretch, get out, and have a good day.

  14. "say no to the low income housing at wilson year and all the crime that comes with it too.

    When was Uptown safe and sound and beautiful? 1920?

    I also doubt if they will build the retail space at all. When Target backs out, she will just proceed with the housing, or make the "retail" space into shelters or something.

  15. So from the tone of this website and the comments of posters, the people on this website are against poor people having economic opportunities such as provided by Labor Ready and they are against poor people having housing they can afford so they will not be homeless, but then they are constantly complaining in such a hostile manner about the presence of poor homeless people in their precious world. What haters. What is anyone doing to help besides opposing affordable housing and work opportunities?

  16. Or sean...
    Maybe it's just that putting a well planned mixed-use development on prime northside property would genuinely spur economic growth and jobs at least more secure than 8 hours. Uptown zip code 60640 is already one of the 100 porrest zips in the state; more poverty is unlikely to improve matters.

  17. Sean,

    I think you use the term 'hate' and 'hater' to loosely. As a condo owner, I do not like having to pay higher taxes to build a low income housing project that will result in higher crime and lower property values.

    Why would any condo owner want to pay into a project that will hurt the value of their home and increase the risk to their family’s safety?

  18. Bradley and Pat, A big reason why there is as much homelessness as there is is because of a lack of affordable housing. And the affordable housing that exists tends to be ratholes like the Wilson Men's club and other SRO's. I don't buy that taking people off the streets and putting them into housing is going to increase their criminal behavior or increase poverty because the people sleeping in shelters are now sleeping in apartments. And Pat, on one hand you complain about paying higher taxes and then complain about lower property values which would lower taxes. Just no satisfying you. Well, what are your suggestions for alternatives for low income housing? Yeah, I was too loose with using 'hater', but there is still a clear opposition on this site to the existence of poor homeless people, as well as opposition to action that get people housed or employed. Really it is clear the underlying wish is not to solve any problems or help anyone, but to just get poor homeless people, and the people that serve them, out of your neighborhood and out of your sight. Maybe not haters but definitely 'NIMBY's'. And it is clear people are just concerned for themselves and their investment in their condo. So many people could only afford to buy in Uptown because of it being a poor neighborhood, but now that their in its "thanks for being here to make my condo so affordable to me, no get out so my condo will be more valuable and I will be richer."

  19. " it is clear people are just concerned for themselves and their investment in their condo "

    Generalize much, Sean? Do you think calling people names here will make them sympathetic to your reasoning? Mmmm, I think not.

    How 'bout this. I've rented in Uptown for over 20 years. And I'm against putting more concentrated low-income housing in Uptown, even with no equity or investment besides the emotional equity built up here for many years.

    Why not bitch on the blogs for Lincoln Park, Portage Park, Avondale, Old Irving Park, Edison Park, West Rogers Park, etc., etc. and let THEM know they're not holding up their part of the bargain. Why should the great majority of low-income housing be concentrated in Uptown rather than spread out among the entire North Side?

    Sean, we're not Nimbys. See, it's ALREADY in our back yard. Talk to folks who have no low-income and public housing in their neighborhoods and see what they say.

  20. Sean,

    Did you see the low income housing projects that were robert taylor and cabrini green? Both were low income housing projects and both failed do to high crime rates. Low income housing project's causes higher crime.

    Your comment about what I said about paying higher taxes, then with lower property values thus lower taxes really shows you do not know much on the financial side. Why would I be happy about paying lower property taxes because the value of my condo goes down? Of course I wouldn’t be happy if the value of my condo goes down. Paying into a TIF that will build a housing project that will reduce the value of my home is not financial smart and something I will fight. It would be much better for all of us condo owners to just get rid of the TIF, thus reducing the tax burden on us condo owners that worked hard to get to the financial standpoint we are at. And in turn, have a chance to increase our property values and work to reduce crime in the neighborhood without the albatross that would be Wilson Yard Low Income Housing Project.

  21. tygerkub, too much low income housing has already left Uptown. Apartment buildings where low income families could rent have been converted to condos which they could not afford. There has not been a comensurate development of affordable housing. Again, what are you doing to solve the problem of homeless and unemployed people besides basicly saying get them out of Uptown? Are you lobbying for development of low income housing in the neighborhoods you mentioned? Are you putting together low income housing developments anywhere? Or are you just opposing any opportunities for the homeless in Uptown? What should happen to them to the people who cannot afford to buy or pay the market rate for rent in Uptown? Just push them out of the neighborhood and forget about them? People need to have space to live, a place to sleep, and a place to relieve themselves. If you oppose the development of affordable housing will you support people sleeping in the parks or the development of more shelters? If you oppose affordable housing will you support the right of people without housing to hang out all day in public spaces and relieve themselves where they can?

  22. Pat, please, Robert Taylor and Cabrini Green were old school projects since torn down or in the process of being torn down. The Wilson Yard will be one building among a thriving community that includes you, not one building around dozens of other like buildings devoid of any thriving community or middle class. And I think the best thing would to build many more projects like Wilson yard throughout every north side neighborhood. Wanna get rid of homeless people? Build housing for them, don't just push them somewhere else.

  23. Sean, you sure ask a lot of questions. But you don't answer them. Go back to my post and tell me what you're doing in all the other communities in the North Side to convince them to take even one-tenth of the low-income housing that's currently concentrated in Uptown.

    See, Sean, you've got all the marks of a fanatic who doesn't listen, doesn't want a dialogue, just wants to tell everyone else that they're wrong, wrong, wrong. Therefore, there can be no meaningful dialogue with you. So I'm outta here. Have fun arguing with someone who's got the time and tolerance to deal with your kind of debate. I don't.

  24. Sean,

    No one here is against the poor.

    We're against the concentration of the poor.

    It's no good for them, and it's no good for the more affluent.

    It's a very simple concept, that through history has been solidified with hard data.

    "Mixed income" can be, and has proven to be a real socio-economic thing of beauty.

    But when "Mixed income" is really an Alderman's shoddy code-word for "all ultra low income" it becomes a very toxic situation. All very poor equates to a dumping ground.

    It's one thing to have compassion for people who need and deserve affordable housing. It's another thing to dump them all in one place and allow local governmet to wash their hands of the problem.

    We elect officials to listen to our local problems, and then come up with effective strategies by which to solve them - NOT TO CREATE BIGGER FUCKING PROBLEMS.

    Sean, I have a feeling you're extremist - bleeding heart - doesn't care about anything we have to say in our defense - but you should know -YOUR WAY OUTNUMBERED!

  25. Okay tygerkub, you want me to answer your original questions? Do I generalize much? Only when it fits. Do I think calling people names here will make them sympathetic to my reasoning? No, that never occured to me. Why should the great majority of housing be concentrated....? I do not think it should be. And I am not sure that it is. And it should be spread throughout the City, but that does not mean the affordable housing at Wilson Yard should not be built. Get it? And I have lobbied my alderman about the need for more affordable housing in my ward, the 47th, and I do advocate in person and on line to everyone and anyone from all communities about the need for more affordable housing. Homelessnes is not going away no matter how hard you wish. People need a place to live, that means buildings. The Amish have the right idea. I hope you can stop whining to me now. Maybe answer my questions and stop the insulting tone if you are honest about dialoguing.

  26. The Amish and the Quakers do have the right idea. Don't live in the urban areas.

    Is this actually an argument on Uptown Update? Live like the Amish, build low income housing in a huge modern city?


  27. sheridanparkparade...the poor are not being concentrated in Uptown, there are middle income people like you, I presume, and Pat, and many other renters and condo owners. There has definitely been a very large increase of condo owners in Uptown over the last 15 years. They provide the balance for the people that would occupy the low income housing in Wilson Yard. Uptown is not and will not be simply a concentration of low income housing the way Rober Taylor and Cabrini Green were. To suggest so seems intellectually dishonest. We're talking about one building here. Have you been paying attention to Uptown? Have you noticed the new construction along Leland, Sheridan, Broadway? Who is living there? Poor people? Not. And building low income housing in Wilson Yard is going to lead to a concentration of poor people in Uptown? Please. There has been a buttload of upscale housing built in Uptown in the last decade and nothing built to replace the affordable housing that used to exist in their place. The intellectual dishonesty is so apparent and people wonder why I use the terms hater and Nimby. And why do you attack me and say I do not care what you and others have to say when I am clearly reading and responding to what you have to say?Seems pretty dishonest too.

  28. hey soul... actually that was pretty good. What I was getting at with my comment is that the Amish work together to make sure everyone has a place to live.

  29. Sean,

    Who is going to pay of your idea of more low income housing? Are you a property owner? Because it is the property owners that are being targeted to pay into the TIF for the low income housing. It seems that a lot of entities seem to find it OK to tax middle and upper middle class families and provide hand outs to others.

    Cook Co is one of the highest taxed counties in the nation, you add city, state and soon to be and increase in federal taxes and you got the majority of the governments and pet TIF projects being funded by the middle and upper middle class. As one that is being targeted with paying higher taxes, I do not agree with this housing approach.

    I would rather cancel the WFT and invest my money on my family’s well being instead of paying for other(s) well being. I know my family will appreciate my contribution. Low income housing will show their appreciation to their housing needs by pan handling, cussing at me, intimidating and harassing my family. All that I’ve describe has occurred to my family in Uptown.

    Heck, I can’t even wear my Iowa black and gold in my neighborhood in fear that a gang banger will assault me. I was threatened when wearing the black and gold until I explained my alma mater Iowa’s colors is black and gold. How crazy is that!!!!

  30. Wanna get rid of homeless people? Build housing for them...
    I think most will agree this is an over-simplification of the problem of homelessness.

    And I have lobbied my alderman about the need for more affordable housing in my ward, the 47th, and I do advocate in person and on line to everyone and anyone from all communities about the need for more affordable housing.
    If your Alderman listens to you, then you're already one-up on us folks in the 46th Ward. Our Alderman is M.I.A. Sean, I don't claim to have the answer to homeless-ness. If it was easy, someone would have already figured it out. No Democrat or Republican has figure it out. No man or woman. No renter or owner. No man or beast. And I'm not sure there is any substance in your arguments that makes me believe you truly know what to do about it either. If you think you really have it figured out, run for office. I'll vote for you.

  31. Sean, I'm glad you appreciate honesty. I hope you really mean it.

    At this time, if we are going to do what most research does, we will rely on the last U.S. census for our data. According to the Loyola & O.N.E. sponsored CURL study that used the 2000 census statistics, 18% of all the housing in Uptown is subsidized. The rest of the city has a 5% average. Uptown also has half the rate of homeownership when compared to the city's average rate.

    Uplift's poverty rate exceeds 95%. It's probably a safe bet to say our small neighborhood has more homeless shelters and institutions for the mentally ill than any place on earth.

    Like others have said, we're doing our fair share of helping the less fortunate. It's time for a little more balance. Let's let other communities experience the opportunity of helping others.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Hey Sheridan Park Parade-

    Im interested in buying your property. How much? I just won the mega millions and am interested in turning it into a day spa.

  34. Sean, perhaps if you lived in our ward and attempted to deal with the 46th Ward alderman you would have a better understanding of some of the comments on this site. Many of us participate in grass roots efforts to align the interests of the poor with the "rich, evil condo owners." Sadly, Ald. Shiller chooses not to participate in many of these meetings.

    Take a long, hard look at the facts regarding the concentration of low income housing in the 46th Ward. Your NIMBY comment is laughable, given the audience to whom you have addressed it.

    This post is not an attempt to bully, embarrass or shame you. It is merely a request to do a little bit of research and revisit the issue at hand. There has been zero transparency for the Wilson Yard Project and no indication that there will be any level of screening candidates for housing. Many of the concerns from Uptown residents would fall away if there was an agreement in place to address these two issues. Secrecy breeds distrust.

  35. People like Sean use every trick in the book to make their plea. They mention the "loss" of affordable housing. When anyone retorts with the percentage of subsidized housing that currently exists, it gives a much more accurate big picture, thus silencing the Seans of the neighborhood. But not to worry, you'll hear more from these Seans on another thread when they repeat their same mantra.

    You see, it's not about correcting a perceived wrong. It's all about pushing their agenda. Sean and his kind will claim he's being picked on in the process, which is just another tactic to play victim, and pushing victimization is their game.

    Of course many residents want affordable housing and that also includes subsidized housing. (BTW, Another tactic is to intermingle the 2 terms "affordable" and "subsidized" to make the audience think they are one and the same.) Let's just be honest in the process, right Sean? Because we do share in the need to be honest with the facts.

  36. Are there drawings of the housing?

  37. I am against the poor if they are not willing to work and help themselves.

    And I don't think in society it is my job to take care of people that are capable of working but refuse to and want to live on my taxes.

    Everyone needs to take care of themselves and their own families.

    What happened to people being responsible for themselves.

    The reason people are poor is because chose not to work.

  38. Holey Moley....your arguments are specious. I am not and have not debated the amount of affordable or subsidized housing in Uptown and I am not debating that more affordable, including subsidized, a subset of affordable housing, should be built in other areas of the city. (By the way, that theory of yours that I or others purposely intermingle the terms affordable and subsidized as a tactic is stupid, probably much like yourself, but I will be carefully of mentioning them seperately to calm your paranoia). HOWEVER, the points I made about the loss of affordable housing in Uptown, NO MATTER the percentage that still exists, and the increase of upscale housing, you cannot refute, that is why you ignore them. And you cannot argue the fact that the people who relied on the affordable housing that HAS ben lost in Uptown (again, no matter how much still remains dummy) still need a place to live. Get it? Those people have not disappeared no matter much you and others would like them gone from your world. People still need a place to live. Wilson Yard could offset some of that loss. I am sorry Ald. Shiller is not more cooperative and open with the ward residents as she should be. I do not argue that people do not have a legitamate complaint there. However, in this country and in this city, too much investment has been made in housing that people cannot afford (are you paying attention to the housing crisis, hhmmm?) and not enough into housing that people can afford, either to buy or rent, subsidized or market rate. People here seem to desperately want that Target store at WY. Where will the people working there live? They will certainly not be able to afford buying in Uptown and the pool of affordable rental units has shrunk as many buildings have been converted to condos. People making less than $20,000 a year actually do need a place to live and again, no matter the current amount, there are fewer rental units they can afford available. It would be appropriate if rental units affordable to the average Target worker were built at Wilson Yard as well. There are actually a lot of people out there who have an income but are homeless because they can not find decent housing they can afford. (I know, I know, tell them to rent at the Wilson Men's Club). Building affordble and subsidized housing at Wilson Yard will not turn Uptown into the Robert Taylor homes. It will just decrease the amount of homeless already there that everyone complains about so much. And holey moley, lay off the accusations about peoples' motivations, tactics, or agendas. I am more than capable of answering what my motivation or agenda is, and my tactic here is pretty straight foward dialogue. You sound like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter explaining that people's motivations for opposing the Iraq war is to help the terrorist win.

  39. I think sean that you may be basing your position on erroneous premises. I said "may" because I don't have the numbersbut maybe someone does. How many units have been converted to condos? Of those who left the converted (and does that necessarily mean they were "affordable" to begin with?) how many are homeless? How many of the homeless in Uptown came from Uptown housing? How many of Uptown's own homeless and impoverished will get the WY luxury (>$400K) apartments? (I think Holsten given us this answer: 0)How many units of existing affordable or subsidized housing are vacant? (I can see several at Gill Park Co-Op boarded up.)Had WY been well planned and executed, it could have been a true engine of economic growth. Real jobs could have been generated which would have afforded people to live in permanent housing.

  40. Immediately north and south of Uptown's general "borders" there is FAR less of the general nastiness we all experience on a consistent basis in Uptown. Loitering, drinking/drug use on the street, aggressive panhandling and much worse.

    What could be the reason for this? It probably has nothing to do with the drastically disproportionate amount of low income housing concentrated in Uptown, right?

    Sean, I agree with some of your ideals, however to suggest that Uptown needs MORE concentrated very low income housing at an intersection that has already been a blighted area for decades is ridiculous.

  41. r. -

    Your view on the 'poor' is broad and ignorant. Not all 'poor' people are sitting on their butts waiting for money to fall in their laps. Some 'poor' people do have jobs and are trying to make it.

    Think before you speak about a large group of people.

    It would be like me saying that all Uptown Updaters are 'white condo owners'. That just isn't true.

  42. Sean,

    In your last statement you mention focusing on housing that people can afford, then mentioned subsidized. If you are in subsidized house that means you are not able to afford the housing and someone else is either partially or fully paying for the housing.

    So please Sean answer my question which I’ve asked already this blog thread, how will all of this subsidized housing be paid for?

  43. Good post uptown girl. While I do get frustrated by the Shiller administration, especially the WY plan, I have met so many good people who live in the low income housing on my street. I know many of them have jobs and when we did the garden at Clarendon Park the first year there were more people from the low income building than condo owners out working on it. So many of them actually care about the neighborhood.

    We need a leader to bring us all together, not the current leader who's main focus is polarization.

  44. No one needs to be poor in this country. If you work hard anyone can make a middle class living.

    There is no excuse for someone living a life time of being poor that isn't mentally ill, substance abuse or has serious health problems.

    If you don't make enough money get a better job.

  45. Bradley...I believe you are sincere about this subject...a couple of points; I am not sure what your question was about if the converted housing had necessarily been affordable, the thing is, to the people who had been living there it WAS affordable, that only makes sense. And the condos that replaced them were not affordable to them (though maybe in a couple of cases, people purchased the units they had been renting, but I doubt there were many, if any). I have no idea of how many who lost their apt. to a conversion are now homeless. I think it is pretty clear though that there is a domino effect with the housing. The people who might have lost their apt. to a conversion are left to compete with a now smaller pool of housing that is affordable to them and as more and more rental units are converted to condos, there are less and less affordable units to rent, but no less number of people who need rental housing, so someone is eventually being squeezed out onto the streets. I also wonder why >$400,000 units need to be built? (besides to raise the property values of people who have already bought in Uptown). There seems to be a lot of unsold and repossessed units like this - Trump is defaulting on loans because he cannot sell his luxury apts. some of which are in that 400k price range. But my point has been that there have been alot of units like this that have been built or converted in Uptown over the last 10 years with no development of any housing that is affordable to people like the ones who used to live there or that would work at Target. What is needed are units that lower middle and low income people can afford, especially with the current economy losing so many higher paying jobs. That is what I am fighting for. And I don't believe any arguments that even if WY became a CHA development Uptown would turn into Cabrini Green. People need CHA housing too. Last spring, the CHA opened its waiting list for section 8 and over 250,000qualified applicants applied for something like 40,000 lottery slots to get on a WAITING list for Sect. 8. The people on the waiting list for Sect. 8 could probably get Packer season tickets first.

  46. Pat, subsidized housing is paid for with Federal dollars, so it would be federal taxes. But I don't know what 'all this subsidized housing' means. Not all affordable housing for low income people is subsidized. I am not talking about creating new subsidizees. There are already enough people with Sect. 8 vouchers who cannot find units to take them.

  47. "on one hand you complain about paying higher taxes and then complain about lower property values which would lower taxes. Just no satisfying you."

    This made me laugh out loud. Then it confused me. Then it made me loose faith in humanity.

    To borrow a hilarious quote:
    "Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

  48. Why is it that every month or so some "new" person happens upon this blog and feels the need to point out that everyone here are "haters" "NIMBYs" and all that?

    I have lost my patience for this nonsense. I suggest that people like Sean read through the whole blog before you start passing judgment.

    The issues people discuss here, in general, are complicated. If you are a pro-affordable housing activist then it would behoove you to lose the ideology and start looking at the real world. New York? Boston? LA? even Berkeley? There are numerous other places in this country that are dealing with the same things. No one really has all of the answers but talking respectfully and recognizing the dignity of everyone is helpful, if not necessary, to work for positive change.

    I always imagine the Seans of the world come to this blog and experience some kind of eureka moment. "A-ha! The NIMBY is not an urban legend!! They have congregated in Uptown and there are so many of them!"

    People are not happy with WY because it was never an attempt to do what TIFs are supposed to do---stimulate economic growth in blighted areas. It was a mechanism to bring in high-rise affordable housing (in Shiller's mind) to compensate for the units lost to condos over the years. That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the TIF was not the way to do it and of course there is the issue that our percentage of affordable housing units is still very high for a successful mixed-income community.

    Maybe we can try harder and do better than most other neighborhoods and be successful. But much of the skepticism and frustration is because it is like we are always starting from scratch. There are documented problems with a number of subsidized buildings already and little is being done. As a community we have had difficulty working out what kind of police presence keeps people safe but is not overly aggressive to certain groups. We are having trouble attracting more businesses even though there is money to be spent here. All of these issues could be addressed better if we had some kind of leader (did someone say alderman??) who was willing to engage the entire community. All of that is wrapped up in the comments that people make all over this blog. Remember that.

    The sad thing is that Shiller has the knowledge and the ties to bring this community together but she chooses not to because that would inevitably require her to make compromises. I think she is not doing it mostly because her power as an alderman does not require her to do it. All I can hope is that compromise and healthy dialogue can happen when she is gone. I mean, everyone is HERE because they are wanting and waiting for that productive conversation to happen.

    So, Sean...keep reading through this blog. Surely you will hate some of the comments and some of the UU's posts. But that is the nature of the beast. But if you are really being "intellectually honest" you will see that this is a community that is searching for answers and not presuming to have all of them already. There is probably zero tolerance when it comes to violence, abuse of children or of mentally ill or strung-out people who cannot maintain basic public decorum. Other than that people are more open-minded than you think. That Rush Limbaugh comment was hilarious. Have you seen the stats on the last election? Something like 90% Obama and the Green Party did ok too.

    Welcome to the fracas but since you are here, why don't you contribute something new and useful? Get more acquainted with the frictions and factions of this community so that you aren't just pointing out the obvious in the most basic way. Yes, we all do realize that everyone needs a place to live. I hope you make some friends here. Maybe you could even get all of us "haters" to march with you down to city hall and demand why Chicago isn't doing more about affordable housing? I mean, there has been a lot of new buildings in the south loop in the last five years yet very few affordable units. Hmmmm....

  49. Plus it is the TIFs being used for all these projects that have this whole city in financial trouble. Why do you think there's a budget shortage.

    Just look at all our taxes that haved been dumped into the WY TIF over the years and look at how little progress has been made.

  50. Sean, people working at Target aren't going to make a lot of money unless they're in management. If you don't have a high school diploma, well, expect to live a life of poverty. A job at Target in most neighborhoods is for high school age, younger adults, and retirement age individuals. If you are in your 30's and still working minimum wage, your problem is more than just a low paying wage.

    I had to live in some pretty crummy neighborhoods when I was starting out as an adult. I once lived without hot water for 3 months in a really crummy neighborhood. However, it was an incentive for me to work hard to be able to afford a better place. I did it without expecting the government or the city to provide me with better housing. I fully support subsidized and affordable housing and I'm glad Uptown has already done its part to help. It's time for other neighborhoods to step up to the plate.

  51. Sassy..that Rush comment was directed at one person, I do figure that most of Uptown is rather progressive. But if you were to review what prompted that comment, you might understand why I used it. Basicly someone was trying to ascribe motivations and agendas to me to suit THIER own political agenda, stuff that Rush and Coulter do all the time. And Caring neighbor, yes I agree, using derogatory terms is not appropriate, but I get a little heated and respond in kind when being insulted. Maybe you could be an equal opportunity rebuker to people who are being insulting or condescending here. I will try to to do better.

  52. Sean, I implore you to educate yourself regarding the concentrations of various types of housing in Uptown. You repeatedly fall back to generalizations regarding housing for the poor and ignore the facts regarding the situation in Uptown. Perhaps you should test the waters in your ward (the 47th) regarding to building more affordable housing there.

    The high levels of current low income housing in Uptown, coupled with an alderman who is unwilling to address gangs, crime and drug issues in the 46th ward is a lethal combination.

  53. shillingsgang....come on, I AM aware and educated about the amount of low income housing in Uptown. I am not disputing that there is a lot of low income housing there or that there needs to be more in other neighborhoods, and I have spoken to Schulter about the need to low income housing among the upscale developments. My point is, has been, and will continue to be to advocate for more and newer forms of low income housing as there IS a need that is not being met and there HAS been a significant loss of such housing in Uptown, though perhaps not to the extent that some would like. I feel society overall has overreached in the housing market, from individuals attempting to buy more expensive housing than they can afford to developers building more expensive housing than is needed. I mean the Goldblatt building was converted to condos with a certain amount set aside as low income but for even those you had to be well above the mean yearly income of Chicago residents to afford. Not exactly meeting the low income needs. I used to live in Uptown in the late 80's until 2002 and have worked there for 20 years. 30+ years ago Wrigleyville used to be a lot like Uptown was 10 to 15 years ago. All the low income tenants there were eventually pushed out, many to Uptown, leading to a greater concentration of homeless and low income residents in Uptown. To repeat what was done in Wrigleyville in Uptown will not solve any problem, just push it to a new neighborhood, which I know will make some people happy. The percentage of low income housing in Uptown HAS decreased over the last 10 years. Someone needs to advocate for the development of new low income housing to replace the current crapholes that exist.

  54. please sean...define "significant loss". I want someone, anyone, to provide hard numbers on "affordable" units lost. Then I want those who advocate increasing the number to provide reputable evidence (sorry Helen's office won't suffice) that increasing such housing in this, my, neighborhood will lead to positive community development.

    As Fix Wilson Yard points out, "The Illinois Housing Development Authority and the CHA refuse to fund the development of subsidized housing in census tracts that contain over 20% low income housing." I demand to see evidence to refute this position.

  55. Sean, the loss of affordable housing in Uptown is misleading given that we already had 5 times the rate of affordable housing as is found in other surrounding neighborhoods. Really, it is okay to live in another neighborhood that is more affordable until one can afford to live in the neighborhood they want. People do it all the time. I did it. You moved and it sounds like you did it too. Thanks God we have mass transit so that people who must live in other neighborhoods can still get to Uptown if they need to do so.

    When Uptown starts to have less affordable housing than what's found in most other neighborhoods, we can begin advocating for more affordable housing.

    Until then, let the market drive in the need for more affordable housing. I love government helping out but that shouldn't have to be the immediate answer, especially if a neighborhood already has way more affordable housing than the surrounding area.

  56. Thanks Holey Moley, that was the most civil and reasonable comment you have yet made. Yeah, I know, Uptown does have an unreasonable share of low income residents. I feel part of that is because there was not enough advocacy for what were the low income residents of Wrigleyville before it gentrified. Not that gentrification is bad, it is actually good. I fear a loss of balance however, and if people do not advocate enough for the low income residents of Uptown, it will become another Wrigleyville or Lincoln Park, which I know will make some property owners happy - and there is nothing wrong with wanting to see the value of your investment increase - but will just make more of a problem somewhere else, as it has in Uptown, cause the people who get displaced still need somewhere to live. So I feel compelled to act as a counterbalance to all those pushing against low income housing in Uptown. And I also get irate and compelled to write in at what comes across as contempt and scorn for anything that is targeted to help the less fortunate - such as that labor ready site - that too often appears on these pages. Not to mention contempt and scorn for the homeless and their plight altogether, e.g. not having accessable toilet facilities, even if it is a minority of posters, though sometimes it does not seem like it.

  57. Sean, I can't speak for all Uptown residents, but I'm guessing here they get irritated at people living outside their neighborhood who advocate for more subsidized and affordable housing in Uptown. Your valuable time is probably much better spent advocating for that type of housing in your own neighborhood. It certainly would have you put your money where your mouth is.

    As far as Labor Ready goes, there were 3 major beefs:
    1. As Helen often does, she again sought no input from the local residents, block clubs, UCC, Uptown United, the school, and most of all, the alderman whose ward was across the street.
    2. There were already places near public transportation where it could have easily gone where no zoning change was needed. Helen views zoning as something to change when the requester can drop some change in her campaign funds. But really now, zoning changes should be rare and not the norm.
    3. Day labor oppresses the low wage worker and keeps them trapped in poverty.

    And last but not least, homeless people have no need to go to the bathroom outside. There are tons and tons of social services that welcome them during the day and allow them to use their facilities. The homeless people I frequently see pissing and crapping in my alley are so heavily intoxicated they can barely stand, much less walk to a public restroom. Finding a bathroom is not their problem. Getting sober is.

  58. "if people do not advocate enough for the low income residents of Uptown, it will become another Wrigleyville or Lincoln Park"

    Why do people think there are only two types of neighborhoods: Uptown (as is) and Lincoln Park? I would prefer to see Uptown evolve into (and believe that it can) a neighborhood similar to Andersonville or Lincoln Square: funky little locally-owned shops, a walker-friendly community, a great diversity of people, and enough history to let you know it's a real neighborhood.

    In any case, Uptown can never be another Wrigleyville or Lincoln Park due to the amount of subsidized housing that's already in place. I would prefer, however, to see that housing much better managed.

  59. Holey Moley....glad to know that there are tons of social service agencies that will allow people to use their bathrooms. I wanna be proactive about this problem and do something to solve it, rather than just make snarky comments. Since you seem to know, could you please respond back with a list of such agencies, their locations, hours, policies on who they admit (e.g., do they need to be sober? Women only?, etc). I know the Salvation Army on Sunnyside used to be such a place, but as we know it has closed down. I will at my own expense create info cards and outreach to the homeless in Uptown and provide them with this info and talk to them about the need to be sanitary and respectful of the neighborhood in hopes of doing something to decrease this problem. I will do the leg work if you could just provide me info of where the homeless are welcome to use restrooms.

  60. Sean, that is a good thought. The best source for the information you seek is Ald Shiller's office. Her office keeps close tabs on where her constituents live and seek assistance. There is a link the the Ward 46 web site on this web site. Please keep us in the loop regarding how the process is coming along. Thanks for taking the lead on dissemination of information.

  61. Helen has a listing of social services as well as the Dept. of Human Services, which has a large book that lists all the different services in the area. Be prepared though, the book is huge.

    I'm delighted that you want to help the homeless read about what bathrooms are open during the day. Make it really large print, though, because when they are really intoxicated, it's hard to read smaller print. Don't stand long in front of a really drunk guy either because they mistake you for a urinal.

    Yes, Uptown has its missionaries from outside the neighborhood who find the need to help the homeless around here. Then they quickly leave to go back to their nice sanitary neighborhoods and feel all nice about themselves. Sean, why don't you start some soup kitchen in your neighborhood?

  62. Another thing Holey Moley...I was gonna ignore your comment about the Day labor oppressing the worker....That is more of the specious arguments I was talking about...BS in other words. Agencies like Labor Ready fill a need and provide opportunity for people. There are a lot of businesses that need short term unskilled labor that rely on Day Labor agencies to provide them with manpower. They do not oppress, they give people an opportunity to work for a day or several days and it does not 'trap' or force people to work in day labor in perpetuity. Where people go after working in day labor is up to a combination of the job skills or experience they have, their effort finding work, and the general economic conditions, and maybe a little luck. I myself used services like Labor Ready when I was in college to get jobs over Christmas vacation and spring vacation. One led to a full time job over the summer. I have personally known homeless people who have obtained full time work through working day labor. The jobs I worked through day labor were only gonna last a day or two or a couple of weeks whether I was hired through Day Labor or through the companies HR department. People are constantly whining about people panhandling. What would you prefer, someone spending the day panhandling or someone spending the day working day labor? Which is better for the person? If they are working they are not hanging out and urinating in the alley and they receive some money that is going to be spent in the community (yeah, I know, they are all just gonna spend the money on booze and crack and cause trouble). It has also given people the ability to rent a room for a couple of days to at least get a shower in.
    But really, the tone of people blogging about the Labor Ready was pretty clear. They were not concerned with the plight of unskilled and unemployed people, they were not concerned with finding a more appropriate location for Labor Ready so people could be provided with opportunity, no matter how minor or short term it was. They were simply opposed to having a labor ready around them. Spin it how you want, I am not fooled.

  63. holey...YOU said there were a ton of social services agencies that allowed the public to use their restrooms. Clearly you do not know what you are talking about and are assuming. Which are open at say 9:30 p.m.? Hmmmm? Which are open at 6 a.m.? My point is you are talking out of your butt about stuff you do not actually know about. And I actually have a copy of DHS's blue book.

  64. Holey...I do work to help the homeless. Do you do anything to solve problems or just write in to oppose anything that would help the homeless and make contemptuous remarks? I think I know the answer.

  65. You all should know better than to engage someone in an unreasonable argument. Ignore the posts and keep on topic. It's better for the post and eventually the unreasonable will go away.

    On topic here. Someone mentioned Target's investment in the land in the form of down payment monies. We should look to the corner of Addison and Kimbal as an example of what can happen. Builder's Square had originally purchased this parcel in hopes of erecting a home improvement/lumber yard. Due to extenuating circumstances, bankruptcy in this case, they sold the parcel to another party and Builder's Square never materialized. It was sold again and Home Depot appeared with a CVS. What's to say that Target won't sell this property to Mr. Holsten or subsidiary so that more no-income housing that costs more than most of our condos can be built? We did get word a couple of weeks ago that Target closed on the land deal but there is still NO SIGN posted saying this is the future home of a Target store. As has been noted on here many times in the past, this is very uncharacteristic of Target not to toot it's own horn and ready the masses for crap. (Good crap, I like target, too)

  66. Agreed, Chuck. There are those that love the quick fixes that keep the homeless dependent and more victimized, and then there are those that want solutions that help to promote real change. Guess where most of the quick fixers live? It ain't in Uptown.

    There's still no clue to me what Target is thinking. Through the years, Helen has always claimed it's in the bag and through the years we've learned she's lied. I can't believe her anymore. To think she gets upset when people don't believe her.

    Who knows what will really happen there but I'm betting the next new alderman in 2011 can influence what finally happens.

    Remember how the flying monkeys reacted with delight when the wicked witch died in the Wizard of Oz? I suspect that's how some of Helen's most ardent supporters will react when Helen loses the 2011 election.