Friday, September 18, 2009

Reactions To The $54 Million Fish Farm Subsidy

From James Cappleman's most recent newsletter:

Make no mistake, I support TIFs, but there must be transparency, community participation, and the money must be used in a fiscally responsible way. I support the building of affordable housing as long as the housing is built using best practice standards so that we can make these limited dollars stretch. The CDC supported a plan with no clear details and no real community input.

What we can do together: Many of you have contacted me to see what you can do to bring about needed change in the next municipal election in 2011. You can help right now by forwarding this newsletter onto others. Encourage your neighbors and friends to become informed and sign up for this newsletter, and do it today. Early next year, many of you will be needed to do more work to help bring about needed change.Keep spreading the word to make real change happen for the 46th Ward! With our hard work together, we can make it happen!-James (Contact Information:

From the Nitty Gritty Second City blog:

Another Chicago life lesson, political will always wins over community preferences

... Naturally, when city workers are being furloughed and services cut and the budget deficit is $500 million, it makes perfect sense to hand over an extra $54 million to an Alderman’s pet project.

In this particular case, it was for the Wilson Yard Tax Increment Financing district, a giant money sucking project in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The original project was budgeted at $56 million, but Ald. Helen Shiller wants $54 million more to build things like a green technology center and more parking lots. Factor in an adjustment for inflation, and the Wilson Yard TIF is using $112 million.

But Chicago doesn’t have money for police, social services or the park district. (Read the entire blog article here.)


  1. I just wrote James Cappleman and he told me in the email he is going to run against Helen Shiller. He has my vote. Write him now

  2. How does one get on Cappleman's newsletter list? There doesn't appear to be a sign-up on his website (which seems a fatal flaw for a politician-to-be). Any ideas?

  3. Look for the newsletters at his web site; open one; click "join."

  4. Or simply email the campaign and ask to be put on the list.

    While there isn't an explicit newsletter sign up, there are many avenues to contact the campaign on the site, most obviously under the "Get Involved" menu.

    In addition, there are email links all over the site, including at the bottom of every single page.

  5. El, thanks for the info. My newsletter purposely stayed away from my website, and instead referred people to my email address precisely because the website needs updating.

    Honestly, I didn't have plans to issue a newsletter and say much about my interest in running for City Council because it’s highly unusual for anyone to be so public about a municipal election when it’s still well over a year away. I’m not aware of anyone who has ever announced running for alderman so early before. (My campaign has not yet made a formal announcement and issued a press release.)

    Last month, many people asked me to say something to address their own feelings of frustration about not feeling heard in the 46th Ward, especially after two events…. the street violence that gained national attention and this recent request for $54 million for the WY TIF. Rather than wait for an updated website which needs many changes, I chose to communicate primarily through a newsletter… for now.

    I have not been wasting time these past 2 years. Those who know me tease me about the many meetings I attend after work and on the weekends. I can’t remember the last time I had a free weekday evening from some type of meeting, but I think it was 3 or 4 months ago. A free weekend? I’m embarrassed that it’s been more than a year and it may have been two. It’s been so long that I can’t remember. This weekend, I will be gathering signatures for 3 different candidates running for office.

    Every Friday, I go to a positive loitering event, so if you want to talk more, please stop at the corner of Leland & Sheridan and say hello. I’d be happy to talk more.

  6. We realize Uptown Update already posted this, but the Fish Farm Frenzy blog has a unique perspective on this issue that you might want to check out:

    Fish Farm Frenzy Blog

    Your friends
    at Fish Farm Frenzy

  7. Since people are promoting their websites here I'll promote the newest video put out by the Uptown Liberation Army.

    From the same demented minds that brought you Daley in the Bunker comes "The Mayor Finds Out He is Being Mocked on YouTube".

    Not as funny as our first endeavor, but the technical values are better.

  8. He supports TIFs? Are you kidding me? That's like saying one supports loan sharking as long as, you know, it's transparent and accountable.

  9. Libby, I wonder what your thoughts are about where Helen stands on TIFS? At the very least he didn't support this recent request for more money being poured into the Wilson Yard and his reasons made some sense. That's miles better than Helen.

  10. libby - Your analogy is is more like he supports lending institutions given they are transparent and accountable.

    Like so many things TIFs can produce positive benefits to the community when used appropriately, but can have disastrous consequences when misused.

  11. Just wondering: I don’t know what Helen’s thoughts are about TIFs. Like other Alderman, my hunch is she is scurrying as fast as she can to extract the maximum from their districts before October.

    Physically Knotted: I’m afraid you don’t yet appreciate the scam that is Tax Increment Financing. I can find many lending institutions that operate above board, file audited reports, and even exceed their CRA requirements. But TIFs? There isn’t one that anyone can point to that demonstrates the ideal. That’s because there is no ideal. Lots of people think there is one, such as redevelopment, but it’s never worked that way.

    Just for fun, and maybe as a little mental exercise, ask yourself why a TIF district, one that has no scheduled or proposed projects, take out a loan? Think on that for a bit and you’ll understand pretty quickly why my analogy is not wrong but your candidate is. All he’s doing with that statement is signaling to the Mayor that he won’t stir the pot.

    That’s all we need.