Thursday, November 6, 2008

Debate Over Future Of Wilson Yard Continues In Uptown

By Zach Wilmes

Nov. 6, 2008 - Gentrification affects different neighborhoods in different ways, and Uptown's experience is certainly unique. While many residents around Chicago watch their cost of living increase as public housing is demolished to make way for luxury developments, Uptown is embracing a different strategy.

Wilson Yard, the large piece of vacant land on Broadway that sits between Montrose and Wilson, will combine low-income housing with senior living and a sizeable commercial space that will house a Target and several other stores. But not everyone's happy.

The proposal has drawn criticism from many in the community who feel that Uptown is taking on too big a burden by taking in many of Chicago's displaced, often people forced out of public housing projects like Cabrini Green.

"It sucks it all gets dumped on Uptown," said Nikki Parks, a waitress who has lived across from Wilson Yard for three years. Parks says Uptown is no longer as dangerous as it used to be, but it still has its problems. And while reaching out to less fortunate citizens is commendable, she says, it isn't likely to improve the area. Adding another low-income development to an area that already has several is not the way to go about it, she said. "It doesn't work when it's concentrated -- it's still segregation," Parks said.

But Yvonne Odell, assistant to Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), disagrees.

"It's not going to be the Friendly Towers or some halfway house," said Odell. "It's not subsidized housing." Odell said that people get the idea that because some of the development is reserved for low-income residents, the neighborhood will deteriorate. By saying that, "You're scaring people into thinking that crime is going to come to the neighborhood," she said.

In a press release, Shiller wrote, "The housing at Wilson Yard is not public housing. It is not high-rise housing. And it bears no resemblance to the high-rise housing that has been torn down by the [Chicago Housing Authority]."
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  1. hmm.....does 'Yvonne' need to get a clue?

  2. Helen is having a little fun here. It's technically not public housing, but it is 100% low-income housing and she is counting on that to sail over the heads of most people.

    It reminds me of the requirement that 1207 Leland had to do drug screening and it ended up that you have to prove you are a drug addict to live there. I know she giggled over that one too.

  3. The WY area, if I am picturing it correctly, is currently in the midst of several relatively new condo developments, including two right across the street from the Jewel's, as well as very nice two and/or three flat buildings. My concept of mixed income and avoiding, as people loosely throw around here, a "ghetto" like development, is that the housing is not in a community that is solely low-income. These 178 apartments would be built in the midst of market rate housing as well as other market rate highrises to the east. Given that scenario, how does 178 units constitute a warehousing and ghetto-ized effect if in fact the housing is constructed and located in an area that is not entirely characterized by low-income housing?

    Also, some of the last few comments I have seen posted lately have been more infuriating than usual, but I refrained from bothering to comment because i know the usual dismissive response. But I am really kind of appalled at the stereotyping and fear that seems to abound concerning us "low income highrise" dwellers. I live in one of those "scary" highrises on a block that seems not to view us as part of the community or even the block, but part of the problem. This is despite the fact that I have lived here quite safely for a couple of decades. I know I am on a tangent now, but it really saddens me to know that if the building in which I currently live, my home, which was built several decades ago, were proposed to be built today, it would probably face fierce opposition on the sole basis that it is "low-income" an highrise, containing about 187 units. This despite the fact that my parent worked, and this building is filled with people who work and have families, as well as seniors and people on section 8. They just don't have high incomes. Some even have low-low-income. And yet this building is not the wild, wild west. But based on what I have been reading here the past several months, my family and others would be presumed part of the problem. I also find it interesting that though you proclaim that this is not about condo owners vs renters, comments that renters just don't have a real stakehold in the community went pretty much unchallenged. I won't belabor that, and simply say that I disagree that only property owners can have a real stakehold in the positive growth and development of the community. Anyway, the stereotypes, IMO, driving the movement against the "low-income" component of the WY plan is making me a bit nuts. I fully expect most will disagree with my point and find a way to tell me that I just don't get it, or I just should not read here if it makes me mad, but I just want to put out there that this is the way some of you present yourselves: As people who truly just don't want any low-income people around based on stereotypes about them. And having been one of those "low-income" families in one of those "low-income" buildings, I just find it truly offensive.

  4. The reason true mixed-income developments work is that the buildings are seamlessly integrated with one another. From the outside, you can't tell which are the market value units, which are partially subsidized, and which are fully subsidized.

    That's the whole point. Mixed incomes, living TOGETHER.

    Not 175+ 100% low-income units in one corner, and 100+ market value units in another corner.

    True mixed-income housing is a model that works. Helen and Peter seem determined to reinvent the wheel with Wilson Yard, and it's going to be to the detriment of everyone.

  5. Neighborlady, unfortunately too many of us have had very bad experiences with bad management of the low income developments. We want mixed-income because (1) it mixes the incomes and (2), mixed-income buildings are almost always better managed.

    Had Helen had a history of insisting on good management of low-income buildings, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    You can paint us as a bunch of people who detest the poor if you want, and God knows Helen has. But if you are really interested in communicating, you need to look at our past experiences with the way low-income developments are managed here in Uptown and Helen's refusal to be transparent in the WY process.

  6. I'm sorry neighborlady, TSN and Holey are right... There is a well documented history here in our neighborhood and in the City at large... This kind of concentrated and segregated low-income housing will only lead to more safety concerns and other blight issues.
    I do have a very well managed large Section 8 building on my street, and have very few problems with the residents that live there... However, that building is indeed a rare model of good management.

    I do take personal offense at your statement "As people who truly just don't want any low-income people around based on stereotypes about them". I am proud to live in such a diverse neighborhood, I moved to the City so I could make a difference and be involved in keeping neighborhoods like Uptown diverse and interesting places to live... But honestly, enough is enough. People of all walks of life want to live in safe, clean neighborhoods. Schiller and her ilk are counter productive to that end.

  7. from the article:

    Yvonne Odell, assistant to Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), ... said Odell. "It's not subsidized housing." ... Odell said that mixed income housing is the future of the neighborhood.

  8. did I miss something, has Holsten turned back all his City and state subsidies?

  9. I don't get Helen and her staff, who keep on telling us that WY is mixed-income housing.

    (Especially when the legal documents proving it's NOT are posted right on the same page!)

    I guess if they keep saying the same lies, they think it makes them true.

    I just don't get it.

  10. So it's not high-rise public housing, it's mid-rise very low income housing? Thanks for clearing that up, Helen.

  11. We just confirmed yesterday that 80 units are "subsidized housing" and Y'Vonne O'dell is still saying it's not.

    The units are "subsized housing" when the developer has to maintain compliance with the muni code in order to maintain his low income housing tax credit status. Holsten collects the tax credits. The property tax payers pick up this tab.

  12. neighbor lady has a good point in that this is not a cabrini green CHA nightmare. However this it is not your standard "mixed income" housing either. But if these are to be considered two sides of the subsidized housing model than WY seems to be closer to mixed income than Cabrini Green.

    While WY may not be "mixed income" in the traditional sense I think it represents an expansion of that housing model rather than a continuation of the Cabrini Green model. Comparing the two is unfair and unproductive. Does anyone know if this model has been tried and if so what were the results? Any urban planners?

    Don't get me wrong, I disagree with the methods that were used to fund this and I strongly abhor its lack of transparency. Even if the fundamentals of WY would not change I would be more inclined to support it if the plan and the planners were transparent, open and honest.

  13. Neighborlady...

    I understand your frustration, but I don't think you understand ours.

    The majority of people who post here are not against low income housing. We just believe that every neighborhood in Chicago should carry an equal amount of them. We don't believe that Uptown should be the only option those who require this kind of assistance have. For many right now, it is.

    I believe that the poor should have just as much variety and choices in terms of what neighborhood they want to live in. What Shiller, Daley and those like them are doing is segregating the poor into one tiny area of Chicago, far away from the eyes of tourists coming to the Loop. Do you think that's fair?

    In my opinion, This is the Titanic, and Uptown is E Deck. Remember what happened to those on E Deck? When the ship went down, they were the first to go, and they had ZERO chance of surviving because they were literally locked down there, behind locked gates. This is exactly where Helen Shiller, Mayor Daley and those like them want you to be. Trapped so they can use you to further their own agendas.

    I'm glad you live in a safe building. You are one of the few that live in a well-managed building. There are too many that are not well managed at all, and Holsten doesn't have a good track record of doing so. Not to mention, the latest measures that were passed behind closed doors absolves him of any and all responsibilities...but he will still get paid. Nice huh?

    No one in on this blog wants to take away what currently exists in Uptown in terms of public housing, and public support for those who need it.

    What we do want is for every neighborhood to be required to provide the same. To be against those who desire equal responsibility across Chicago would be to deny yourself of having choices of where you want to live. I don't think that makes much sense.

    The other main issue here, is the fact that Shiller and her people lied about Wilson Yard, and continue to lie about it, and no one of authority is willing to challenge her or stop her, so citizens have had to take matters into our own hands via legal action.

    When I first moved to Uptown nearly 4 years ago, I stood at Truman College for a public town hall meeting and listened to Shiller and Hosten describe the plans for Wilson Yard. She stated it would be a MIXED Income community. The market rate units would pay for the subsidized units. There would be a Target. There were plans for a movie theatre and other retail space.

    For the most part it sounds decent. Except its all lies.

    -The movie theatre option was dropped. And I have little hope of her briging in additional retail, as the 46th Ward is already ripe with empty store fronts.

    -Depsite the fact that Shiller continues to claim that Target has signed on, there still is NO letter on intent, and if you contact Target's corporate office, there is no official word on this, via yes or no. Yet Shiller claims they signed on YEARS ago?

    -The building is 100% Low to No income. There is no Market Rate units to support this endeavor. These units will be paid for via TIFF money.

    -These units cost more per unit than the average condo in Uptown... yet they will be paid for via the increased taxes paid out by property owners.

    -The budget for Wilson Yard is WELL over the alotted amount for any TIFF funded project. Yet not one public official is fighting this.

    -Shiller and her cronies use sneaky back alley deals, and closed door meetings to shove through her agenda. Whether its pushing through legislation overnight that absolves Holsten of any responsibility for Wilson Yard while guaranteeing him his fat paycheck, or preventing certain sectors of her Ward from voting on referendums so she can artificially inflate the percieved public support of her agenda... Shiller is a lying, P.O.S. crook, and I fear that Uptown has NO hope of becoming a successful neighborhood as long as she is at the helm.

    As far as stake in the community... I will have to disagree that renters and home owners look at it the same way. I'm sure there are some renters who value their land, and care for their building and are involved in the community. But there are too many who treat Uptown like their personal garbage can. Many of those who live in the CHA housing by my former home would fit that bill, as I see them deal drugs on my corner, then dump their flaming hot cheeto bags and drink boxes right on my front lawn, when there is a garbage can 5 feet away from them.

    As a renter, if you're not happy with what is happening in Uptown, you can just not renew your lease and move, if you can afford to. If you bought here, well, its a bit harder to just sell a place, especially in this market. So, when those of us who are paying for Shiller's pet projects via increased property taxes to fund TIFF, and at the same time she is shoving her hands in our pockets and our purses, sneering at us, calling us 'Bad Apples, and telling us "this isn't your college campus sweetie, and move to Lincoln Park if you dont like it." We are the ones paying for all of this while Shiller sends her attack dogs like Ron Durham and COURAJ out on the streets to denounce home owners as evil and a detriment to the community - when it is homeowners that literally make public housing and support possible. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth!

    You see, neighborlady, its far more complex than haves vs. have nots. Shiller would like you to believe that it was that simple, as it suits her agenda. But the reality of it is not that simple.

  14. While WY may not be "mixed income" in the traditional sense I think it represents an expansion of that housing model rather than a continuation of the Cabrini Green model. Comparing the two is unfair and unproductive. Does anyone know if this model has been tried and if so what were the results? Any urban planners?

    The current plan does not include any units that will have rents determined by market prices. This is the core component that makes mixed income housing work, but the trailing factor is that among the units that will be built an equal portion must be market priced to an equal portion that are price controlled through various income ceilings.

    The current plan doesn't contain any market priced units. The only difference between Cabrini Green and Wilson Yard, as it stands today, is the representation of a Target which refuses to go on the record committing to the project.

  15. Caring neighbor says, "I don't get Helen and her staff, who keep on telling us that WY is mixed-income housing."

    It seems pretty clear to me that the argument is that it is mixed income housing because all of the housing that has cropped up around it is market rate. Unfortunately, that chops off the argument for TIF funds at the knees. One wouldn't need to provide assistance to Target and Aldi to invest in the neighborhood but for the fact that this is a blighted neighborhood that has proved resistant to interest from outside investors.

    While it is true that there is a "too much concentration" argument behind the Fix Wilson Yard movement, one could also say that the entire issue community members are having is not just that. In other words, if HUD or city funds were being directly used to build this housing and TIF funds were going towards things like sewer maintenance, school improvement, jobs programs, streetscaping/traffic flow then there might be less resistance.

    It seems to me that the larger community is crying out for balance for it is not as if those things I mentioned (and which were used to justify the TIF in the first place) are going to fix themselves. We will use the money for WY and then we will have to stand at the back of the line waiting for city $ to address these things. And, everyone knows that there is not much of that to go around... and that with police redistricting (for example) we are already in line for a reduction in services.

  16. Graeme,

    I don't remember which article it was stated in, perhaps Irish Pirate or the folks from Fix Wilson Yard have access to it, but an urban planner did review the plans for Wilson Yard, in all of its sparkling Shiller fairy-tale glory, and he deemed it a disaster. Oh wait, I found it on the FWY website. Here is the quote:

    "Wilson Yard is a future slum for Uptown" - Christopher D, Renowned ULI Urban Planner

    Is it extreme to claim that WY is going to be Cabrini Green? Well, yes because it won't be anywhere as big as Cabrini Green was, but it does have the potential to be a complete disaster. Why? Look at the actual model of how this building will be set up. Notice the seclusion, the lack of pathways, all the great nooks and crannies for drug dealers and gang bangers to do business. Don't kid yourself that they won't. They do it all day long in the broad day light on school grounds and public playgrounds in full view of babies already. This will just give them some more privacy. Oh, and easy access to defenseless senior citizens too.

    If you haven't done so yet, I suggest you read the facts listed on Fix Wilson Yard. Mainly these two links:


  17. Cabrini Green took a long time to fester and disintegrate into what it became. To think that WY would immediately go up and be that is disingenuous.

    However, we are stuck with the legacy of Cabrini Green. There are two aspects that are important with respect to Uptown.

    (1)CHA is tearing down these buildings and only building a fraction of apartments in their old locations in their place. The demand for affordable housing is real and true and replacement rates of existing units alone has not kept up. That says nothing about the effect of the current economic climate.

    (2) The second issue, which is seldom talked about, is that you can't just tear down the housing and think that the terrible conditions are now wiped away too. The people who lived with rampant crime, poor schools, dead-end jobs or no jobs are still here. You've got people who may have poor health, criminal records (most NOT for violent crimes)and little ability to get a decent paying job. A lot of these new developments (Holsten's North Town Village) were able to cherry pick their residents. But what do you do with people who are harder to house? Shiller doesn't seem to be mandating any criteria. I see that as a potential problem because to the extent that anyone (and by that I mean OTHER aldermen) are willing to take on an affordable housing project we risk getting those hardest to house. To anyone who is compassionate but not a pollyanna, it is a point to consider. In terms of the local schools, it really stacks the deck against them unless some serious resources for wrap-around services are developed.

    What would be really terrific for Uptown and people like neighborlady is if there were a home ownership component to the project. There would be a built-in incentive for residents to really get involved with community issues and also provide an opportunity for current residents to create individual wealth from property value increases. That is a "mix" that there would be lots of support for, I think, but is probably not possible by this TIF financing scheme.

  18. farrell, thanks i'll check it out. but i'm still curious to know if there is any similar project with which to compare.

  19. Graeme, I have looked to find something that is being organized exactly like this one because I didn't want to have a knee-jerk reaction to WY and, since I support affordable housing, I wanted to provide some context to neighbors who are inclined to say 'it's the next Cabrini-Green!'

    I haven't found anything for two reasons. (1) No one really knows what is going on here. It has changed so much over time and we get conflicting tidbits from news sources. If proponents want to dispell some of the stereotypes they claim are out there, they should get the plan out there in writing for all to see. No glossing over the details. (2) HUD is not directly involved in the project nor are other affordable housing coalitions that could simply show that WY will be just like another development they have done. What we do know is that WY is a departure from the model that Holsten himself pursed at Cabrini-Green. North Park Village is a mixed-income development in the sense that it is used everywhere not in Shillerista-speak. Mixed income developments as they are being pursued across the nation have very specific criteria.

  20. So it's not high-rise public housing, it's mid-rise very low income housing? Thanks for clearing that up, Helen.

    Shiller LOVES to correct bad apples who refer to WY as hi-rise.

    What's bizarre about that is that the City is not putting up any other MID-RISE 100% low-income projects anywhere, either!

    When comparing & contrasting WY & Cabrini Green, what's significant is not so much how much WY resembles what came DOWN at Cabrini but how different WY is from what WENT UP - drive or stroll by there some time

    And HOLSTEN did it - so he KNOWS well what the right thing to do is - but Shiller and her posse of social engineers have order up their dream to order

  21. There's a gap in this discussion about what is mixed income housing and what is not mixed income housing.

    When tax dollars are used(Wilson Yard TIF) to fund a project that is allegedly "mixed income housing", the new development itself must contain units that will have market based pricing. Neighboring units that are market based pricing are not a relative example to cite compared to other mixed income developments.

    The new development must contain units that will be priced by what the market determines.

    That is how mixed income housing has been built to function and the record shows that. Our current project is NO market based priced units meaning all tenants would be living in government controlled units.

    When you take tenants that live by the rules of the market out of the mixed income development you condemn the project as a whole. It will fail. The city has plenty of its own case studies to prove so.

  22. Um, when exactly is the lawsuit going to be filed by Fix Wilson Yard to whom I have given a fair amount of my hard earned cash?

  23. hey neighborlady, Cabrini Green was located just a few blocks from Oak Street, the most fashionable street in Chicago. That didn't work, nor will this.

    Sorry, I, along with many others, don't see it the way you do.


  24. I have it on good word that the FWY lawsuit is coming BEFORE Thanksgiving. Patience.

  25. Fix Wilson Yard put this in their update on October 27 and it also went out in their newsletter:

    "Prior to the financing article, the Fix Wilson Yard group had decided to temporarily cut back on our public presentations and place 100% focus on finalizing the lawsuit. The lawsuit will be filed within the next 30 days." (emphasis mine)

  26. Come on folks it's a mixed income development just as Shiller has stated.

    Some people living there make more money than others that live there on welfare.

    And some are better drug dealers and pan handlers than others.

    So see it's mixed income.

  27. PS: Since the northside action folks do read this blog, please do chime in with how WY is like other developments across the country if that is the case. For the good of the entire neighborhood, we should be talking about affordable housing success stories.

  28. A couple of thoughts:

    Does anyone else think it's screwy that TIF money which by design is to increase by broadening the tax base is being used for a project of long term tax credits?

    I think Gill Park is a comparable "mixed-use" development (1st floor retail/100% low income). I can see from my apartment several floors of boarded-up windows and scorched facade from a fire last December.

  29. I have an idea of what Couraj is after reading UU for some time now ... but can someone give me details? Even when I Google it, the only items to appear are blogs. Is it an actual organization?

  30. Is it an actual organization?

    Does it have to be? As far as I know it doesn't have to maintain any kind of registration at all.

    You'll have a hard time telling the difference between COURAJ, Northside Action for Justice, Organization of the Northeast, and Jobs With Justice. It's the same people, standing under umbrellas with different names.

  31. If the issue is management of a property having almost all or even all low income residents, and not the mere presence of low income living in the community, then that distinction (however slim it is) needs to be made clear. Otherwise the perception, based on what is making it out to the media (such as the waitress being quoted as not wanting "it" here,) is that you just don't want poor people or low-income people here.

    Also, a couple of you continue to make the argument that property owners have a stakehold over and above renters. Your position is, hey renters can just pick up and leave but it's harder for owners to do so. You need to be careful because it sounds suspiciously classist and elitist, and presumptuous. Homeowners can sell property and I venture to say at least a few people bought property in Uptown as an investment to be resold once the value increases and they may possibly leave the neighborhood, as is their prerogative. However, plenty of renters call this neighborhood a home and may in fact shape their lives around life in a particular community. It may be hard for a renter, especially with limited income, to pick up and leave. And believe it or not, some renters actually come to consider their communities home. You really need to stop trying to create some false nexus between property ownership and stakehold in community. There are folks who have rented in this community for decades, and plan on staying here so long as they are not forced to move, and there are homeowners who are planning to be out of here in five years.

    And I think Holey Moley mentioned being willing to communicate by understanding your issues with Helen. Be clear: I am not trying to paint you as haters of the poor. What I am saying is that the way you often frame the conversation bolsters that perception, so if you mean something different, then that should getting out there in the bit of media I've seen lately. Not people being quoted on how they don't want "it" (low-income housing and its attendant residents) dumped here. Second if transparency is the issue, again, make that clear--I'm just saying that what I've been hearing lately clouds that issue. Third, I am very interested in communicating. I am hearing what you are saying about concerns re management. I am hoping that some of you are hearing what I am saying about taking a second look at what you're actually saying and make sure you are not using rhetoric that stereotypes and over-simplifies others exactly the way you say Shiller stereotypes and simplifies you.

  32. neighborlady, thank you. You've made some excellent points.

    The press, COURAJ, and yes, Helen, want to make this a class war and we have to be careful that we don't play into that trap. Yes, some people don't want to be around poor people, but I don't believe this represents most of the condo owners in the area. Our job as residents is to communicate our concerns so that we're heard.

    We still won't be heard by Helen and we certainly won't be heard by COURAJ. I think we're quickly coming to a time where what they think won't matter anyway because neither will be in the picture much longer. We need to focus on being heard by the press.

  33. Despite all the sniping on this blog, I have to say that we all really care about Uptown and want it to be safe, vibrant, and diverse. The problem with much affordable rental housing is that certain buildings (like one just by my home) are poorly run. Tenants are not screened properly, the management can't keep up with all the vandalism, and gangs have access to the buildings to deal drugs. FOr those who are working and trying to live on limited means, I support having affordable housing BUT ONLY IF if can be planned and managed in a way that makes it safe and a positive thing for the community, rather than a persistent source of a few criminals who simply cannot be gotten rid of. This does not seem to be a consideration for the WY planners.

  34. Maybe we should start thinking about how we can direct our efforts toward shaping WY. I'm not suggesting that we forget the appeal, but instead, that we have a plan that adjusts to its presence in our community. If we all agree that "it's not that we're against the poor," then lets ask what we can do to transform it from a mini-Cabrini to an integrated part of the Uptown community. Studies show that isolation is the number one cause of poverty-based crime. For that reason - this development is set-up to be a disaster, we all know it. But - lets engage our neighbors and help where we can. The last thing we need is fear. It's great that everyone seems committed to Uptown in the fight against an all low-income WY. It will be a travesty if we sulk with folded arms and turned backs, waiting to be proven right about the effects of low-income housing once WY is complete.

    While saying this - I also note that I'm completely against the isolated low-income housing (which this development clearly entails), but we have to able to adapt and engage. We have power (granted, not all power under this twisted situation of messed up political agendas) in the outcome of this space through public presence, positive loitering...

    What kind of businesses could deter this space from becoming a slum? How can we bring it to Uptown? What kind of organizing can happen to merge WY with the broader community? Who can we elect as our next Alderman? These are the kinds of questions we should be thinking about now. I'm not giving up on the fight against the way in which this space is being developed, just suggesting that we maturely engage instead of snobbing it...

    I'd love to hear positive ideas about moving forward. Maybe it seems like we're at a dead end as far as the hope for vital businesses on Broadway, but I haven't given up. Thoughts?

  35. Also, a couple of you continue to make the argument that property owners have a stakehold over and above renters. Your position is, hey renters can just pick up and leave but it's harder for owners to do so. You need to be careful because it sounds suspiciously classist and elitist, and presumptuous.

    I rent here. I don't want to move. I like it here. I want people to want to rent here. That's good for the community. I may even choose to buy here.

    But even if I didn't live here I would still know that the Wilson Yard development is bad for everyone. It's bad for renters. It's bad for owners. It's bad for businesses. It's bad for local schools.

  36. What kind of businesses could deter this space from becoming a slum?

    sure, fall back to the basic sales pitch of WY:


    (fine print: with concentrated subsidized low-income rental housing)

    LOOK! It's a shopping mall! YEAH!

    (don't look at those 2 towers)

  37. You need to be careful because it sounds suspiciously classist and elitist, and presumptuous.

    You need to be careful.

    Why is little ole Uptown your designated Nirvana?

    Why don't you take your 100% low-income mid-rise well-managed bldg dream to Sauganash or Bridgeport or Beverly?

    Supporters of the WY design are the ones promoting segregation and keeping people in their place.

  38. Hugh - have you ever read "The Life and Death of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs?

    Business does not just suggest shopping.

  39. Homeowners have a much bigger financial stake in the community, neighborlady, that is my point. It is not classist, or elitist, it's a simple fact.

    What do you call the recent action taken with these referendums that made sure that no section of the Ward which exceeded a certain income level were allowed to vote on referendums that would directly affect them? Meaning, the TIFF money increases that would be paid for... by of course homeowners.

    I call that classist and elitist, and it should be illegal to do such a thing.

    You also completely jumped over my main argument, which many here continue to make. Why does Uptown have to be the mecca of low-income housing? What is wrong with pushing for EVERY neighborhood to provide an equal number? So that every community is truly 'Mixed Income.' Why is wanting that a bad thing.

    No one is saying 'we don't want that here' that I have seen. Nope, what I DO see, is we don't want more of it than we currently have. Uptown has the highest concentration of this kind of housing in the city of Chicago. THAT is warehousing the poor. It is wrong, it is unethical, and it is a detriment to those who are forced to live there.

    I am sick and tired of the fact that if you take a stance against not enabling poor people, and providing them the tools and means to aid themselves, and give them choices on where they want to live... and force them to take some personal responsibility instead of just continuing to enable them and give them handouts, that it automatically makes you classist, heartless and elitist.

    My own mother is on a waiting list for Section 8, and I went through the process of getting her on that list, so I am quite educated about the issue. She is disabled and can't work. I hate the fact that she must wait for housing, when there are gang bangers, drug dealers, and single mothers who continue to have children, and do nothing to better themselves, live in Section 8. I hate the fact that there are generations of families that have lived on the government dole, and that is all they know?

    Why is that all they know? Because they live in neighborhoods like Uptown, and Cabrini Green, and the South Side of Chicago, and this is all they see, day in, and day out. But give these people choices, like you and I have to choose what neighborhood they like? And every neighborhood offers the same services, the same level of housing and support? And all the sudden you have a true mixed-income community, where they may be exposed to what is possible in life, and perhaps inspire them, provide them hope that they can attain these things.

    If I saw Helen Shiller pounding the pavement, and working as she did in the 70's to make this happen in all of Chicago. If I saw her voting against adding additional low-income support centers to Uptown, and pushing forth legislation to make it happen across Chicago, I would believe her heart is in the right place, I would believe she is who she claims she is, and I would support and applaud her.

    Instead, she supports a failed housing model, that is in my opinion, classist and defeatist, and has one sole purpose - solidify her voting base. She scares the crap out of these people every election, telling them that the big bad condo owners are going to steal their homes, unless they vote for her. They come out and vote in droves, and voila, she wins.

    It makes me furious, and sick... and given that I own a home there, and have no choice but to allow my property taxes to be raped to support her nefarious goals, instead of them going to improving the schools, or improving infrastructure, or the million other things that money can go to... it makes me furious. And I think there are many others on here who feel the same way.

    We are sick of being told that because we don't want to coddle the poor, we are heartless and classist.

    We are tired of hearing the same old schpeel about how we just don't like the poor, but no one has any valid arguments against why wanting every Ward in Chicago to share equal responsibility to help those who can't help themselves.

    We are bored to tears with those who think that enabling the poor is the best way to go, and that warehousing them into one, tiny Ward is a great idea, because hey, they gotta go somewhere right?

    And God forbid any of us complain about public urination, or defecation, or aggressive panhandling... hey, that makes us horrible, heartless people too.