The Reader's Ben Joravsky -- the local writer most interested in Chicago's TIFs and their abuse -- has written about Fix Wilson Yard's lawsuit. Good stuff.
The Right Fight: Alderman Shiller says Uptown residents are suing to dismantle the Wilson Yard TIF for the wrong reasons. But so what?
By Ben Joravsky, December 11, 2008
For years I’ve been calling on residents to rise up against our city’s tax increment financing program, which siphons hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes each year into accounts controlled by Mayor Daley.
Well, last week a group of residents in Uptown did just that. Fix Wilson Yard, as the group calls itself, filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to dismantle the long-controversial Wilson Yard TIF and turn over the roughly $28 million it’s already collected to the Park District, public schools, and other governmental entities.
It’s about time . . . though at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I have to say the fight is against one of the few TIFs that might actually benefit someone other than the mayor and well-connected developers.
Click here to read the entire article.
I hope today's events with Blago sink through to Alderman Shiller, Mayor Daley and rest of Crook County they work for all the people this is not their private empire to do as they see fit.ReplyDelete
They need to start listening to the the Taxpayers because it's a lot easier today to keep these people honest with the internet.
Shiller will always play the poor vs. condo owners.
Bottom line this was valuable land that would have sold for millions to a private developer and needed no TIF funds.
The fact that the alderman believes (1) that this lawsuit is all about the 2011 election, (2) that this lawsuit is all about what store might go in there, and (3) that a 6-acre undeveloped tract of land less than a mile from the lake and Wrigley Field would have stayed empty without St. Helen swooping in to "fix" it, just shows me how incredibly out of touch she is with the issues that matter to many, many people in this ward.ReplyDelete
She's completely clueless and completely incapable of understanding that viewpoints other than the ones cooked up in her bizarre little universe might have merit.
*shows me how incredibly out of touch she is with the issues that matter to many, many people in this ward.*ReplyDelete
She is either ignorant of or chooses to ignore reality.
I am feeling happy about the news today. I hope this stuff does "trickle down".
Fabulous article! Someone actually gets it!ReplyDelete
Let's hope this publicity will perk up some ears.
The power-hungry seem to be getting their due....
"The point of a TIF is not to build senior citizen housing, noble as that may be. It’s to develop land in a blighted community that but for the TIF would never have been developed."ReplyDelete
Bravo! This is exactly what the mayor and alderman do not want to acknowledge.
"Shiller says she hasn't seen the suit"ReplyDelete
Yet she feels qualified to comment on it to the press?
Only in IL do the most unqualified get voted in.ReplyDelete
The way Blago worked is the way the Alderman work.ReplyDelete
You can't get a permit to build a building unless they get something out of it. And if you don't kick them back then your project gets shut down for all kinds of stupid violations.
What is known about this Judge Rochford? Is she beholden to da mare or Toddler?ReplyDelete
The only things I could find in a quick search online is that she was rated "well qualified" by one of the bar associations, and that she's married to Michael K. Demetrio of Demetrio & Corboy, the well-known personal injury law firm.ReplyDelete
Ben picked up on the thing that bugs me about the FWY cause--and I already know many if not most here will disagree. IMO, this lawsuit is not about TIF abuse per se--that's just a theory to get into court. It's about stopping the housing.ReplyDelete
Had the housing in the plan been a condo development or a luxury high rise and a Target, and had that plan been funded by the TIF, I just don't think there would be a lawsuit today.
Ben applauds anything that challenges TIFs, since that is clearly his crusade, but I don't see the article as particularly championing the underlying motivation of FWY's cause, i.e., to stop the plan because it includes low-income housing.
And I don't think that Shiller's belief that this lawsuit is in part about the election is so far-fetched since one of theories shopped around by some commenters to this blog is the fear that Shiller is trying to increase her voting block by moving more poor people in.
As for the development of that land--well, I see condos here standing half-full with lots of empty space for commercial retail. I don't see a flood of commercial interest, and I certainly did not hear of any large anchors clamoring to come here and potentially attract more traffic and create a more attractive commercial corridor. The last big commercial retailer we had here was Goldblatt's and Blockbuster, and that was well over 10 years ago. I think Target could have been a great infusion into the community as a whole. But depending on how this lawsuit shakes out, we may not find that out.
As for the development of that land--well, I see condos here standing half-full with lots of empty space for commercial retail. I don't see a flood of commercial interest, and I certainly did not hear of any large anchors clamoring to come here and potentially attract more traffic and create a more attractive commercial corridor.ReplyDelete
Today? No. Of course not.
But ..., how long has this land been quietly standing vacant?
You're conveniently overlooking the real estate (ka)boom that was taking place over the previous 5+ years.
How did that parcel of land sit vacant during such a real estate boom?
Again, it ain't the what, it's the how.
If Shiller wanted to have affordable housing built w/o the use of TIF funds, there's no lawsuit.
Plan and simple: Shiller (and by association and agreement, Daley) is mis-using tax dollars to push through a community project w/o comprehensive community input.
Sure - the housing element factors into the prelude to the lawsuit. It was what got people thinking about how our tax dollars are being used, and the "justification" Shiller used for such.
As much as Shiller and her cronies would like to paint this as a class issue, it isn't.
The fact that people think the class argument can be made to justify Shiller's action only augments the fact that Shiller has no argument, at all.
Had the housing in the plan been a condo development or a luxury high rise and a Target, and had that plan been funded by the TIF, I just don't think there would be a lawsuit today.ReplyDelete
Have you ever seen the show Property Ladder? It's like watching a train wreck, where first-timers envision making a lot of money flipping a home. But what really happens is, they overspend like mad. They go over their timeline by three and four times the original schedule. They use expensive finishes that are too pricey for the area, ensuring that the house will never sell for a profit, because it's become too expensive for the neighborhood. The rookie gets overly emotional about the house instead of treating it like the financial project it is. He or she ignores the advice of experts because they "just don't understand" and the flipper feels he alone knows what's best.
Predictably, usually the flipper is left with an economic disaster.
Well, Wilson Yard is Helen and Peter's version of Property Ladder. Wildly-inflated timeline - check. Ignoring the advice of experts - check. Getting too emotional about the project - check. Overspending like mad - check. Expensive finishes - $447K per-unit low-income housing WITHOUT the expensive finishes is something that even the rookie flippers aren't able to manage.
The only difference is, on the show, the flipper is the one who faces the financial disaster. Here, Helen and Peter are merrily making all the mistakes, but they've got no skin in the game. In fact, Peter has a "get out of jail free" card, thanks to Helen.
Who's footing the bill? The taxpayers who are seeing our other services cut because all that money is going into the ShillSten Follies rather than toward city services. And that, NeighborLady, is my version of Tif abuse.
So, would there never have been a lawsuit if, as you claim, a condo development or luxury high-rise was slated for Wilson Yard? Maybe. It all depends on how well and who's doing the developing.
It doesn't matter to me WHAT's going there, but the completely insane way that Holsten and Shiller are "managing" the project. When it's my money being frittered away (and away, and away) by these Property Ladder wannabes, hell, yeah, I'm going to object.
If it takes a lawsuit to get Helen and Peter's attention, and to remind them that "You dance with the one that brung ya," so be it. I'm tired of paying for them to play Property Ladder.
I doubt there would have been a lawsuit if the type of housing that the FWY group wanted was part of the plan. It's pretty clear to me based on what I've been reading about this debate that this is real point. TIF was a way to get into court. If that's their goal, so be it. I just say the cause is not "noble" in the sense that the end goal is not to revamp the TIF process or even to hold Holsten and Shiller accountable for the delay. I just doubt anyone can say with a straight face that if the FWY group had heard that the WY ground was breaking to begin construction of a movie theater, the Target and a new condo development, the FWY would still have filed a lawsuit--even if all of this was being funded via a TIF.ReplyDelete
Neighborlady, I understand you're not bothered by taxpayers spending $447,000 per each family unit of low income housing. I get that.ReplyDelete
Is Peter Holsten giving you a cut of the profits to say this on this message board? What's going on here because I don't understand how anyone with any ounce of reasoning would have no problems with the costs per unit of the housing at this site.
Holey Moley: I tend to agree with Neighborlady. For many people (certainly not all), the housing component is what's driving this, not the use of TIF dollar (though many of us also agree there would have been no problem developing this property without TIF). Even FWY prominently displays the quote about WY being a "future slum for Uptown" right on their opening webpage, which clearly has nothing to do with the TIF dollars.ReplyDelete
Mind you, I don't think this is a bad thing to use TIF as it provides the legal basis on which to challenge WY. While we all find numerous things about WY awful including the ridiculous cost per unit, not liking it doesn't create a legal argument to get you into court. Sadly elections have consequences and we're suffering through that right now...
"I just doubt anyone can say with a straight face that if the FWY group had heard that the WY ground was breaking to begin construction of a movie theater, the Target and a new condo development, the FWY would still have filed a lawsuit--even if all of this was being funded via a TIF."ReplyDelete
Care to put a wager on that? Perhaps you too could place this bet using money from the WY TIF. The results of the bet just might benefit the community.
Neighborlady, you may be correct in stating that if there were condos going in and not low income housing there might be less interest in this. That is because WE, the taxpayer, would not be footing the bill for a $450,000 condo, it would be sold for market value. But, as it stands, we are giving a $450,000 condo to someone who will shit on it the same way they shit on Cabrini Green. Well, my condo is only worth half that amount and I am working like crazy to keep it respectable. These buttmunchers won't. If you would like to pay for this travesty of tax spending, be my guest, but be sure and provide everyone else who lives in the TIF district the appropriate monetary reimbursement. And then shut your pie-hole when you have a shit heap in two years and a bunch of dead kids because the gang-bangers and drug dealers took over their "turf" as their own.ReplyDelete
For those of you who already understand the nature of Wilson Yard Redevelopment in it's current incarnation please excuse the language. It's crass but apparently needed.
I also think that it is unlikely that a lawsuit would have been enacted over Wilson Yard if the original plan were in place today. However, I have a slightly different take on why I feel this way so please bear with me.ReplyDelete
If Holsten had, in fact, delivered on what was discussed in the early stages (a Target, movie theaters and mixed-income housing) WY would have provided a good enough mix of benefits to all stakeholders to make it politically viable. Although I don’t know the ins-and-outs of all of the TIF districts in the City, I would suspect that most plans have enough in them to quiet the inevitable naysayers. This is likely because TIFs, at heart, are politically-brokered deals. (For all our differences, let’s just cut the crap and agree on this one point!) So, as WY changed and shifted away from its original balance of stakeholder interests, it is not surprising to find that the group who was shut-out would begin to find their common interests and their common political will to fight what was happening to them. WY can be said to be as much of a political failure as it is a financial boondoggle.
I think this political failure is the real reason why we have the lawsuit. Saying that doesn’t mean that I don’t think most people aren’t now truly angry about TIF abuse and waste. However, I would just say that the majority of these people discovered these sentiments over time as a result of being shut out. Therefore, I think it is a real mistake in light of the political failure, to attribute people’s motivations today to only one item in their litany of complaints. As we all know, some people will complain “it is not fair” all the time but NEVER EVER step up and do something that requires so much teamwork, organization and money. Fair-minded and intelligent people really need to ask themselves, “why, in this instance, did the disgruntled get together and actually do something? Why did this lawsuit happen here and now?” Is people’s supposed fear of and hatred for affordable housing really enough to motivate a lot of people to spend such large amounts of time and money fighting City Hall? (Some would say a fool’s errand under any circumstance!?) Or, could it be that in this house of cards that is the TIF pay-off scheme, people who may have been once willing to look the other way about some high fallutin’ ideal like TIF reform (whose going to fix that in Chicago of all places!!), started to see things differently. They were provoked into seeing things differently because the bargain that is usually struck in order to get stakeholders to look the other way was broken. But, now that people have honestly started to see things differently, there is no turning back.
Wow, Chuck! I know you are angry but is what you said really fair? It took a long time for conditions to get so bad at Cabrini and not every high density low-income housing project is necessarily doomed from the start. It is all about how these properties are managed and maintained and what other wrap-around social supports are available to work with people.ReplyDelete
I think you hit the nail on the head. Many people in the ward are angry about TIF abuse, but put together a coalition to sue the city takes so much effort that it required a not just TIF abuse, but a disastrous plan for the neighborhood combined with numerous lies and deceits.
To illustrate this, look at the Truman Park garage. Most people agree that is also TIF abuse and don't thrink Truman really deserves TIF money, but we're all far to busy to rally the troops and sue the city over a parking garage.
So I think you're right, if Helen had stuck to the original plan, most people would grumbled about Holsten and the money, but there wouldn't be the galvanizing force that WY has become. No matter where you sit on the political spectrum there is something to piss you off about WY.
Fair? Life isn't fair. Career welfare cases aren't fair. Uncaring politicians aren't fair. Mental illness isn't fair. There are lots and lots of things that aren't fair. And giving a $450,000 condo to someone who will, undoubtedly, not appreciate it is not fair. I seem to recall reading somewhere something about throwing pearls before swine. I also recall reading something about an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. What I don't recall is fair and honest when speaking of WY. And, well, I'm not looking to be fair, I've been fair. I'm looking for honest. There are way too many people in this neighborhood struggling their asses off and our country is in shambles, nevermind our own city, the last thing in the world we need to do is hand that much money to a moocher.ReplyDelete
well said neighborlady!ReplyDelete
Thank you Ron Durham.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sassy, for your thoughtful response, even though you do not entirely agree with my take on this. As a lifetime resident of this community who, thought not a property owner, has a strong stakehold in this community, I appreciate comments that encourage some dialogue.
Chuck and whoever accused me of being on the take from Holsten, my point was really clear: the lawsuit was motivated by low income housing, not TIF reform. If the lawsuit succeeds, some TIF reform may be a result, but my sole point was (and I was agreeing with the Reader author) that TIF reform was not the impetus for the lawsuit.
And I think Ben makes clear that he is not citing a problem with the housing plan per se, he just approves of the TIF-use being challenged because he believes it is an overly (and inappropriately) utilized tool to fund projects.
Let's be real--most people are not going to file a lawsuit to prevent a favorable outcome, i.e., one that is favorable to them. You don't file a lawsuit for the hell of it (most of us don't anyway). Had the plan that ultimately came into fruition been what the FWY people wanted, IMO, there would be no lawsuit today.
I can say with an absolutely straight face: If the city handed a private developer a prime piece of property for a miniscule fraction of its worth...I'd gladly back the lawsuit. If the city wanted to not only give said developer the sweetheart deal of the century and subsequently give him tax credits...I'd double my support in opposition.ReplyDelete
Windy City: Good point about the Truman Parking garage. We went to meetings, got no meaningful input, it happened according to the backroom deal and then we all grumbled and went home feeling angry and used. But, we did not file a lawsuit over TIF reform. It can happen once, and maybe that is the reaction. But twice? I guess we all have decided that once is enough. You say, "no matter where you sit on the political spectrum there is something to piss you off about WY." Classic!ReplyDelete
Neighborlady: While you draw the connection directly from affordable housing to---the lawsuit, I start from lack of meaningful participation to----widespread thinking that this is a bad plan (of which a change in the approach to the housing is a part)---to the lawsuit. What concerns me most about your thoughts is that whatever happens you are thinking that your neighbors are highly motivated over their "hatred" over low income housing. That bothers me because we are your neighbors and how sad is it for you to walk around thinking that people hate and misunderstand you simply for your station in life? Most people who live in subsidized buildings are not causing any problems and are, in fact, part of what makes this neighborhood great! Given the number of subsidized buildings we have, it would be pure chaos here if that weren't the truth!! In my mind, the concern has always been about how we are handling the drugs, gangs and crime that occurs here. Unfortunately, people involved in those activities are often connected either to the buildings or to a few residents of the buildings. They make it bad for everyone, not the least of which is the residents of those buildings themselves. So, besides the health and safety of my own children, I am truly and honestly concerned for the welfare of local children who are growing up here afraid to cross over certain streets and for parents who are afraid that the gangs have noticed their children. I am not sure that I will be able to change your mind that people are being motivated by selfishness and hate in this lawsuit, but I would like you to consider that these same neighbors want to share a safe and vibrant community with anyone who is willing to be a partner in that.
Given that we are struggling so much now, I think we deserve a plan for how anything new will be a part of that goal or not. This business of excusing away or ignoring dangerous or bad behavior by the powers-that-be must stop.
Chuck: I want honesty and the lack of it makes me angry too. I try not to let it get the better of me and some days I succeed more than others. In Uptown, it is hard to keep an open heart.
In my eyes, the lawsuit is based on TIF reform, and yes, it too has to do with the housing that our dear Alderman is trying to cram down our throat - a failed housing model that she expects taxpayers to foot the bill for. Of course taxpayers are going to be pissed!ReplyDelete
Ultimately Alderman Shiller is fully to blame for the lawsuit. Had she not been so damn divisive over the years by pitting the haves against the have nots, making sure the subsidized housing in the area was managed with the lowest of standards, and completely turning her back on half of the community - we wouldn't even be talking about a lawsuit today.
She made her bed, now she can lie in it.
Mind you, this is the second lawsuit filed within one year in the 46th Ward; the first being with Labor Ready.ReplyDelete
The common variable is Helen Shiller.
Not ONE person defending WY has acknowledged the fact that the developing cost of each condo is going to be $450,000 + ! Ron Durham, Neighborlady, etc..... How do you guys feel about this topic? I am very curious to see what your thoughts on it are since you obviously overlook it in EVERY argument you make? I am not just picking on you two. It is everyone that defends WY. I am making a call-out to see your opinion?!?!?!?!?! Someone please step up to the plate!ReplyDelete
Sassy said: "While you draw the connection directly from affordable housing to---the lawsuit, I start from lack of meaningful participation to----widespread thinking that this is a bad plan (of which a change in the approach to the housing is a part)---to the lawsuit. What concerns me most about your thoughts is that whatever happens you are thinking that your neighbors are highly motivated over their "hatred" over low income housing. That bothers me because we are your neighbors and how sad is it for you to walk around thinking that people hate and misunderstand you simply for your station in life?"ReplyDelete
With all due respect, I never said that I was low-income. In fact, my station in life is quite good and blessed, thanks.
Having been raised in a family by people who probably would have qualified for this sort of housing (i.e., low income and probably low-low income) , I find some of the speculation abounding on this board and in other forums regarding this issue about what "those" people will do to be based in stereotypes and fear--and so I do take that a bit personally for that reason.
Furhter, having read the comments in this and other boards where certain buildings are reduced to being called the "Section 8" building or the "subsidized" building does not lead me to believe that some of you see the folks who live in these buildings as your neighbors. Maybe you do, Sassy, but believe me, many of you don't, and the hysterical rhetoric that swirls around the discussion of the WY plan and the "people" who might occupy it and somehow topple Uptown into Cabrini Green land does nothing to convince me otherwise. So you can pat yourself on the back, but I have truly never before read such hateful rhetoric about low income people and Uptown in my various decades of living here in, as some of you call it, the "hellhole."
Sassy also said: "Most people who live in subsidized buildings are not causing any problems and are, in fact, part of what makes this neighborhood great! Given the number of subsidized buildings we have, it would be pure chaos here if that weren't the truth!!"
I'm sure you meant it in a good way Sassy, but I found this to be oddly condescending. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I don't feel like anyone in subsidized housing--including my family, which does not necessarily share my income--is seeking your validation or approval.
And my take on the WY yard debate is that it seems there was community input--the problem is, one segment of the community did not get exactly what it wanted out of the WY plan. That segment has now deemed itself spokesperson for all that is good in and for Uptown. If that is incorrect, please tell me what people of the low-income bracket in this community--your other neighbors--actively support the FWY goals. Or if they are here, please speak up. I'd also love to hear how they feel about people like Chuck spewing his garbage about all poor people, or posts where commenters take potshots at low-income referenced in the article.
I think it's interesting how everyone wants to say Shiller pits people against one another, but many of you speak of low income people in the abstract, as "issues" to be "managed" or "dealt with" in the community. People who own condos or otherwise have mortgages repeatedly on this board designate themselves as the true stakeholders in this community. So tell me, Sassy, how does this rhetoric espoused by many on this board, not contibute to this diviseness and the perception that at the heart of this litigation is the effort keep people of a certain income out?
Bottom line, if it was TIF reform that was the motivation, then why was there no urgency to challenge this funding vehicle relative to WY before the low-income housing component came on? Why did certain groups seem to be all for it until that component came on board? Why did certain groups say low income housing for artists would be great instead? Rather than compromise, rather than admit that this could be a balanced plan that could offer something of benefit to many facets of the community, FWY has decided to sue because ultimately the plan is not one that it approves of in its entirety--which it clearly has the right to do (sue, that is). But please, let's stop acting like government waste was the issue all along.
And as for the issue about the
$ 450,000 per, I think I gave my take on that in another post where I said I was intrigued at the idea of buying foreclosed properties; however I think that might introduce a host of other attendant issues. Would the banks be willing sell? If it's a condo, how will the low-income person pay the attendant assessments and taxes? Will people who purchased the condos for market rate resent such a plan? If poor people can't pay the attendant taxes and assessments, do those get spread out among those who have already purchased into the condo development, thus breeding a more direct private subsidization issue--or does the government pick it up? Does the government own the property? Is the government in a position where it can engage in various piecemeal real estate transactions throughout the city? My thought about purchasing of foreclosed properties by the government is that I am not sure if it is a simple as some here suggest, and in the long run, it may incur costs as high as what is proposed in the WY development. I do not do complex real estate transaction, but I'm guessing a lot of these issues would come up.
Neighborlady, I stand by my spew. There's more than just one bad apple in places like Cabrini or Robert Taylor. Your rhetoric is just coming from a different direction but doing the same thing. You can claim the one bad apple based on your experience and I claim the bunch of bad apples based on mine. Good for you, you dug yourself out of poverty and are doing well for yourself, not everyone can do that. But I don't want to live among those who can't because they have CHOSEN not to. And many in the above mentioned ghettos have decided they prefer the dole than hard work. Pardon me for being a realist when it comes to humanity.ReplyDelete
Sorry, neighborlady, I thought that you had previously said you lived in a building with section 8 tenants or that you had some kind of housing assistance. My mistake.ReplyDelete
You also said, "I can't quite put my finger on it, but I don't feel like anyone in subsidized housing...is seeking your validation or approval." I didn't intend it to be a comment of that sort. I suppose this is why we should all be talking and meeting at community meetings instead of on a message board! :) I wasn't trying to point out something that you and many others already know. I guess I was trying to inject some sense of reality into perceptions in general; there has to be a lot of good here otherwise we would be in much deeper trouble than we are/think we are.
You also said, "I think it's interesting how everyone wants to say Shiller pits people against one another, but many of you speak of low income people in the abstract, as "issues" to be "managed" or "dealt with" in the community." Well, I will stand by my assessment that Shiller is long practiced in her divisive approach, but I do agree with you that we talk about people too much in the abstract. Again, I would say that this comes from being in a neighborhood where not everyone gets an equal seat at the table and divisiveness---far from being avoided---is perpetuated to achieve a political goal. I think it is a problem to speak of "the poor" at all. But Uptown has a long history of being a place where do-gooders have descended to fight for "the poor" and "the people". Although we have lots of ways we talk about "the poor" we have a horrible track record on talking about "we" or "us"---everyone in Uptown together. Since we are all here, how should we live together?
I think some of the things expressed on this board does add to the divisiveness but I do sympathize that it often comes out of anger, frustration and a lack of quality non-virtual civic life.
As for the topic of the lawsuit, I stand by my Dec. 10th assessment. In the early stages of this plan, people knew less and had a feeling that there was something in the plan that they could support. In that way, it was politically viable. This is not how it has worked out over time. I don't believe it is fair to say that these people are against low-income housing in general. There was always supposed to be a low-income housing component to WY. The difference was that it was supposed to be a mixed-income development (as it is defined everywhere else in the country). People could and did support that plan. This is a very important point not to forget as some people want to say FWY is all about the housing.
Although we are not exactly seeing eye to eye, Neighborlady, I do appreciate your comment because it pushes back on one thing thing that Shiller's active supporters on this blog hardly ever get to---who the stakeholders are in this community. You say,"People who own condos or otherwise have mortgages repeatedly on this board designate themselves as the true stakeholders in this community." I don't think that people in general are claiming that they are the true stakeholders in this community so much as they are loudly and finally claiming their right to a seat at the table! For far too long, this constituency has been brushed aside and their voices negated. It won't continue to work for the powers-that-be and IMHO it is high time to start creating dialogue and working together. I do think there is always a danger in that some people will view their own claim as more legitimate as others so what we need to do is recognize that while there are some differences, that doesn't automatically create a stalemate. There is lots of common ground to be found and we should work to find it.
Neighborlady, it's not neighborly to assume that condo owners don't have friends with people with different incomes. I do and I know plenty others that do as well.ReplyDelete
Many on this board, but not all, believe that most people living in subsidized units make fine neighbors. Bonus points to those who attend CAPS and join their block clubs. The problem is not with people living in subsidized housing at all. The problem has always been the poor management and poor planning. If you went to CAPS, you would quickly learn that many of the drug transactions occur in and around many of the CHA scattered site housing. I'm sure most of the residents at these CHA scattered site housing units don't like this either.
We have 2 common occurrences when we speak up:
1. We're labeled racist by Ron, Helen, Marc, Jon, and other O.N.E. types for speaking up.
2. We're promised better management and NOTHING happens.
Neighborlady, $447,000 for a subsidized unit is disgraceful. No type of rationalization can get around it and you know it. We're calling Helen, Peter, and people like you on it. You may continue your rationalization, but when more of the public starts hearing about this, especially when they are threatened with having to move because they can't afford the taxes, there will be plenty of pissed off voters.
You see Neighborlady, nothing is free. Our taxes didn't get high because of frugal spending. I also have news for you: When property taxes get high from wasteful spending, landlords pass that cost onto renters.
As far as one group upset because they didn't get their way, you already know that's bs. One, we're not talking about one small group. Two, this bold plan is awful and it's not being replicated elsewhere. Three, if you look at the charette notes, the results don't remotely compare to what's being built there now. And lastly, even an outside judge has stated that the WY folks have a good case against the city and Peter Holsten.
Honestly neighborlady, the real truth of all of this is that you, Helen, Ron, and the like don't care about reasoning. You want what you want. Period. Well, many of us are going to do whatever we can to stop it. I can say this however; when there is a change in leadership, all this polarization that has been encouraged by people like you will not give you much credibility with the new leadership. Greg Harris and Heather Steans are already noting that there will be a revolt in the next election and they are making nicey nicey. If I were a member of O.N.E. and COURAJ, I'd do the same because everyone knows they already lost the war despite their dirty and shameful tactics.
$ 450,000 per, I think I gave my take on that in another post where I said I was intrigued at the idea of buying foreclosed properties; however I think that might introduce a host of other attendant issues. Would the banks be willing sell? If it's a condo, how will the low-income person pay the attendant assessments and taxes? Will people who purchased the condos for market rate resent such a plan? If poor people can't pay the attendant taxes and assessments, do those get spread out among those who have already purchased into the condo development, thus breeding a more direct private subsidization issue--or does the government pick it up? Does the government own the property? Is the government in a position where it can engage in various piecemeal real estate transactions throughout the city? My thought about purchasing of foreclosed properties by the government is that I am not sure if it is a simple as some here suggest, and in the long run, it may incur costs as high as what is proposed in the WY development. I do not do complex real estate transaction, but I'm guessing a lot of these issues would come up.ReplyDelete
Every one of these concerns is exactly the same if the project as presently designed is built at Wilson Yard. Property taxes, assessments, fees, maintenance will all be picked up by tax payers.
Maybe if Holsten is lucky he can even get the Mayor's old pal Allison Davis to manage the properties. It's not like Mr. Davis doesn't deserve a 7th chance to managed public property, short change it, and pocket the profits for himself.
Holey Moley, I know well how to be neighborly. I have specifically read language posted by commenters to this board that speaks of "low-income" people in broad stereotypes and the construction of two building in apocalyptic terms. I have also been told by a few commenters that people who hold mortgages are the only true stakeholders. Given such sentiments, I would be surprised if there is much reaching across class boundaries to ally with the people in the very income bracket regularly trashed by many who comment on this board. It would strike me as an odd and somewhat hypocritical alliance. But again, it is you, HM, who posted up, and not any of the "subsidized" people you have deemed good neighbors. If management is your issue, why not beat the drum on that issue instead of some of the commenters here taking opportunities to trash and generalize people who are of a low income? Further, please spare me the "things cost money" line. I have been paying taxes for quite some time and am not naive to believe that my money is always expended on everything that I like. In this case, without any hard proof that the plan as proposed is "disastrous" I'm not inclined to follow anyone lock step into trashing the plan--nor am I a blind Shiller/ Couraj follower. Ironic how you rail about people putting condo owners in a box, and yet you try to do the same thing to me when my POV on this WY issue is not lockstep with yours. Oh, and by the way, I did not say all condo owners had nothing to do with their low-income neighbors or hated them. What I wanted to know if this FWY movement, which everyone here says is not about keeping low-income people out, but about the overall improvement of Uptown, has reached across those class boundaries.ReplyDelete
Sassy, if you feel that you did not get a voice before, well, imagine how it might feel to be really in a vulnerable position and not have anyone willing to stand up for you. That is more often the position of the poor, and at the end of the day, they usually do the most compromising to get along. When people who have resources don't want to compromise, they can often gather the abilityto get someone to fight for them.
Bottom line: If the TIF arrangement is the wrong way to finance the project as it is currently planned, then it was the wrong way to finance it before (when it had mixed-income housing and a movie theater and an Aldi that faced the "right" way). That's the point--if it had been consistently posited that this area was not blighted and that TIF money was not necessary, then it would not have mattered if it was mixed or all low-income. It's an improper use of the TIF, period. And that position has only recently emerged with the plan that is not moving forward exactly as the FWY group wanted.
That's where a bit of the hypocrisy comes in about the issue being that of a waste of public funds. In Javorsky's world, neither plan would be financed by TIF money if the area did not meet the criteria, and both plans would constitute a squandering and misuse of public funds if the area did not meet the TIF criteria.
Neighborlady, you say, "If the TIF arrangement is the wrong way to finance the project as it is currently planned, then it was the wrong way to finance it before." That is mostly correct although I think a better argument could be made for the appropriateness of TIF funds creating a mixed-income development with a % of properties sold at the market rate because those market rate units would be paying property taxes into the TIF at their $450,000 + per unit sale price. But as I have said before, the first plan was just more acceptable to a wider audience and thus more politically viable, that is why I believe there was some initial support/excitement. As I have said before, it took time for people to understand what was going on and to figure out what to do. Further, I think those involved in the earlier stages are not exactly the same people involved now. Some of the original people against it moved away because they had had enough and wanted to live somewhere their concerns were at least taken seriously if not addressed.ReplyDelete
Speaking only for myself, I had no idea what was going on during the early stages. I was drinking the Kool-Aid. Even though I am a property owner myself, I thought the people against WY were just the usual misinformed people who will try to stop anything they don't like. I so agreed with your point about "the poor" (there we go again!) and their struggle for social justice that I failed to put my thinking cap on to really figure out what was going on with WY. Looking back, I am somewhat embarrassed. This is CHICAGO afterall! I was one of those northside liberals to the core, I guess. Now, my thinking has changed about hyper-local issues even though my core value system has not. (Or, I hope it has not!!)
So, speaking of thinking caps...I encourage you to be careful about the way that you interpret this message board. I tend to agree with you that people talk about the "two towers" in rather apocalyptic terms. Believe me, I would love it for someone to start posting about affordable housing in a fair and informative way. I'd like someone to post some links and start productive discussion on that issue. I have been dumbfounded that for all of the complaining about the stereotypes, no one has come to do that. We have paid activists in the area for goodness sake!
As for comments about low-income people in general...I've read almost every comment on this site and it seems to me that while there are a few personalities that subscribe to a conservative "personal responsibility" belief system about Uptown's kinds of issues there are many people who are trying to keep an open mind about things. Perhaps that is why we are all here? Because we don't have the answers but we do want to share information and opinions in the hope of some positive change? If you don't agree with me, maybe you should spend some time jotting down which personalities tend to talk about which issues and what they usually say. I don't think it is really fair to just lump everyone together as all being of a similar mind just because they happen to agree on one issue or even several. As Windycityeagle has said about Wilson Yard, there is enough bad about that plan for everyone to find something to dislike!
"Bottom line: If the TIF arrangement is the wrong way to finance the project as it is currently planned, then it was the wrong way to finance it before (when it had mixed-income housing and a movie theater and an Aldi that faced the "right" way). " NeighborladyReplyDelete
Bottom line: If the TIF is going to spend $447,000 for each family unit and $337,000 for each senior unit, there is a serious flaw and waste of tax payers' money. It also takes away money that could build a lot more cost effective subsidized housing in true mixed-income developments.(Helen, a mix of low incomes is not mixed-income housing.) It's bad enough that this type of housing is not being built elsewhere because it's a failed model of housing. One can be a strong advocate for the poor and still be very much against this development.