Monday, July 20, 2009

"Public To Discuss Wilson Yard Amendment"

The Chi-Town Daily News has an article about the newly open meeting *cough*cough* this Thursday to discuss Ald. Shiller's proposal of upping the Wilson Yard TIF Fund to $112 million. Read about it here.

Red Flag Alert: "Marystone stressed, 'The TIF amendment doesn’t spell out what will go into projects, it just seeks authority to acquire properties.'"

Readers, if there's any way you can get to this meeting, please do. Ald. Shiller is trying to get permission to get yet another blank check, to use our tax money to acquire property, and her own representative says there's no guarantee it'll be used for what she says it will. We need to show up in force and give our opinions. You know Shiller's minions will be there in full support (look closely and you can see the alderman's mouth move when they talk) and the people who are actually being asked to fund this farce need to be there as well. Media will be there; let's show up in force and just say "no" to more of this TIF insanity.


  1. "Marystone stressed, 'The TIF amendment doesn’t spell out what will go into projects, it just seeks authority to acquire properties.'"

    I think her use of the word "projects" sums it up quite accurately.

  2. Its amazing that you can even try this without a massive political backlash.

    "I would like 50 million dollars, but I don't feel like I should tell you my plans yet. It might involve parking lots and fish, but I don't know"

    You know what we need in this county? A press. Someone who'll take that silly first amendment thing to heart and do a little bit of journalism.

  3. Shiller paying a firm specializing in real estate investments from her campaign coffer and not her city fund starts to make a little more sense, now.

  4. Could someone answer this question?

    If businesses on Broadway want more parking and land suitable for it is available, why does the government have to buy it for them? Sounds to me like a market exists for this land and that a private investor would want to purchase it and own it. Do TIFs essentially bypass eminant domain headaches?

    If taxpayers buy this land, doesn't that mean that market rate parking charges should be collected for public purposes such as improved ward streetscaping, security guards/information kiosks, special events and promotions to draw people to shop and dine at local businesses? TIFs have so many loopholes and it seems that Chicago will exploit them all for a dubious public benefit.

    On another note, if all of this is just code for getting parking for the Uptown Theater, I think our legislative representatives must be upfront about that. Uptown was designed as a transit-oriented community. We really need to be careful about how we try to bring back businesses and entertainment outlets that attract non-residents. We need some urban planners in charge because hope is not a plan.

  5. Sassy, she wants to acquire empty lots, and her own assistant says the TIF meeting just gives permission to buy the land, and they're not locked into using it for what they say they will.

    Translation: Let's buy up empty lots and say they're for parkiing lots, but then we can build more low-income housing. She says parking lots and fish farms, but means "low-income housing." Just like she said mixed-income housing and movie theatre, but meant "low-income housing."

    As someone pointed out, there are plenty of empty parking lots around Sheridan and Montrose already. Parking isn't needed.

    She wants another blank check.

  6. Shiller could care less about parking for the Uptown Theater - its not even in her ward.

    No doubt, these vacant lots and the Salvation Army building will eventually turn into low income housing if she gets this TIF amendment.

  7. Per Maggie:

    "The TIF amendment doesn’t spell out what will go into projects, it just seeks authority to acquire properties."

    Then the answer is no.

    Without specific planning or comprehensive details, this amendment should not be supported.

    Why is it so difficult for these people, Obama supporters all, to be transparent?

  8. Doesn't the city council have to vote on the TIF amendment for approval? I would imagine she's going to propose the amendment regardless of what public input comes from the Thursday meeting (not to say that we shouldn't attend). I would think we would be best served by sending e-mails to all the other aldermen in Chicago to voice our opinion, because she surely won't listen to our opinions. She hasn't before, why would she start now?

  9. Re Ray @ 12:44.

    I am not saying don't try but I have two words, "aldermanic privilege."

  10. Ray: Do attend. If you oppose her plan, say so. You should tell Shiller you oppose her plan AND tell all the other Alderman you oppose the plan.

    Shiller doesn't have to worry about whipping votes. Burke will do that for her. All she has to do is limit the public opposition.

    TIF changes are rather simple as they go through the Finance Committee. Does the local alderman support the change? Does the Chairman support it? If 'yes' on both it passes. If 'no' on one then there might be some debate. If 'no' on Burke then it dies instantly.

    The Council doesn't make moves to limit public outcry by accident. It does it by design.

    Let your voice be heard. It's the most important outlet you have in this one party town.

  11. Here's another thought.

    If the Salvation Army location had to close due to a zoning issue, be on the lookout for a future PUD, where the buildings to be constructed do not have to conform to any current zoning definitions.

    The plan goes through Dept of Planning.

  12. "do TIFs essentially bypass eminant domain headaches?"

    TIFs facilitate eminent domain. Every TIF district establishment requires the City Fathers to certify a finding of "blight" or "at risk of becoming blighted." Before a judge the TIF serves the City as a key piece of evidence in furtherance of a taking. Property owners in a TIF district have less of a right to their property property owners not in a TIF.

  13. Doesn't the city council have to vote on the TIF amendment for approval?


  14. As the post notes, media will be there - a representation from Joe and Jane Tax Payer would be nice; not to discredit the block clubs or whomever Helen brings in on her leash.

    As with the public safety meeting which Helen blew off, I'll be live tweeting the this as best I can.

    And for my broken record comment of the day, if you're on Twitter:


    get after these folks to make sure that a major media print representative will be there.

  15. In general, TIF cannot be used for the City to buy & hold property. After all, the whole point of TIF is to feather our (24-year distant) future property tax revenues, and the city buying & holding land just takes land off the tax rolls.

    More properly, TIF are used to ASSEMBLE properties for development. The City may buy land but only with the intention of turning a bunch of odd lots into a desirable site, the thought being that eminent domain may be needed to pry loose a few recalcitrant owners standing in the way of progress.

    A key question for Shiller; who will own the lots? I doubt it will be the City. The City is getting out of the parking biz big time, you may have heard. More likely, as I have speculated prev, the plan is to endow UU/BP, with land spun as "chamber"-sponsored "parking lots" while we wait for the RE market to rebound.

  16. maybe at least part of what is happening here is local small businesses have figured out that Holsten & Shiller sold the WY garage to Target, and the WY garage will be of little or no use to them

    forget anything you may have heard about WY revitalizing the heart of Uptown with an infusion of parking

  17. Isnt our TIF already paying for a huge parking lot one block away at TRUMAN?

  18. Isnt our TIF already paying for a huge parking lot one block away at TRUMAN?

    Silly rabbit, tricks are for Truman folk.

    Why would a publicly funded institution, using public funds to build a parking garage next to the "example of entropy" which is the Wilson stop, have to share that space with the rest of the community?

    Remember, these are the same folk who'll gladly take $10M of alderman-offered TIF dough for this project while neither considers what a boon to PR it would be if we gave them a paltry $600k to repair their pool and open it to the community.

    I mean, it's like this is a "community" college.

    You bad apples are all the same.