“Let The Market Decide” says Ald. Moore.
Well, the market is deciding. Everyday a storefront stays empty, that is the market deciding. Every car that makes a right turn from Howard onto Church towards Evanston, that is the market deciding. Every time we fill our wallets with whatever discretionary income we have left after paying the bills, and decide to head down to Andersonville for the day, that is the market deciding. Ald. Moore is tossing out scary sounding economic concepts, in the hope that our eyes start to glaze over, like they usually do when anyone starts talking about economics. Well, mine don’t.
It’s Easier to Understand Than You Think, It’s Just People
So take a deep breath, pour a cup of whatever relaxes you, sit down, take a sip and get comfy. You have some reading to do. If you are upset after you finish reading, it’s OK. You should be, because this free market stuff is at the very heart of what is wrong here. Just remember to channel your anger in the right direction. Take another sip.If you still have your red state or blue state hat on, please remove it. Just try and be a person. OK………..ready?
Let’s Go Shopping
You need groceries for the week, so you pile in the car and drive to Evanston. Why Evanston? There are more choices. You have People’s, Whole Foods and Jewel and if you need treats for Fido, you zip over to PetSmart on the way home. Why Evanston? The service is better. When Dominick’s first opened at Gateway, the store was overstaffed and you never had to wait on line too long. Now, it doesn’t matter what time of day you shop there, you have to wait. Why Evanston? It feels safer in Evanston. It is safer in Evanston. Period. Why Evanston? It feels more like a neighborhood. That’s because it is.
It’s Just People
More choices, better service, safety and a neighborhood feel. As a family or an individual, you weigh all the options and all the information at your disposal and you decide. Evanston. You have just participated in the free market. Not so scary, huh? The decisions you make, after considering all the options, is the very essence of this theory. It’s a fancy term for decisions you and I make every day. The Risk/Reward Ratio. We all make decisions like this everyday. Homeowners, businesspeople, entrepreneurs,investors and shoppers. OK, take another sip, you deserve it.
Ald. Moore is Right and Why It’s Wrong
The free market is a theory. It is not obedient to any political party. It is not a red hat, right wing conspiracy. It is not something blue hats should automatically despise. It is simply an indicator of how people feel based on what they do with their money. The free market allows all of us the freedom to decide, after determining all the risks involved, where we feel comfortable spending our money. And it never lies. So when Ald. Moore tells us “Let The Market Decide”, he is right. The market is deciding. The market is us. We are deciding to spend our money in Evanston, Uptown, Andersonville, any where but in our own community. How wrong is that? Are you mad yet?
Government Has a Role To Play
The success of neighborhoods like Andersonville, Uptown and Evanston are not accidental. It took careful planning and cooperation between people, businesses, investors and government. Economic conditions and timing play a role also. Government legislation should encourage and nurture responsible investment in our community, not discourage it. It is our governments’ responsibility to identify and remove any and all obstacles that prevent responsible investment, unless the government itself is the obstacle.
I don’t know how long this current housing boom is going to last, but it will end sooner or later as all cycles do. Andersonville, Evanston and even Uptown have taken full advantage of the 10 year explosion in real estate values and avid investor interest. Have you been to Bryn Mawr lately? Their neighborhoods are booming because people had a vision, they had a plan and they executed their plans pretty well, apparently.
If You Create It, They Will Come
“If you want retail, add people” says an MPC (Metropolitan Planning Council) spokesperson. We don’t need to build bigger buildings to add people and attract retail, as she is suggesting. Andersonville didn’t do that. I used to live there, when Andies was a cool little hole in the wall and before this current rebirth of that part of Clark Street. Andersonville did not add density by building it. They are adding density from outside the community by creating a destination. A place where people want to go and spend the day. A place where people feel safe. Building bigger in Rogers Park to add density is baloney. Create a safe environment by getting rid of the criminals. Reduce the high concentration of subsidized, low income housing, have a vision, create a destination, enact the plan and they will come.
That, my friends is how the free market can work.
It makes me upset that I MUST use my car to go shopping. We all seem to be doing that. We support other communities and neglect ours because we have no choice. That doesn’t make me feel very good. I want to walk to shop, know all the shop keepers and stop and chat on the street with my neighbors. Why can’t we have that on Howard Street?Howard Street was, at one time, the place to be. The destination.
Now, it’s a place to be avoided at all costs. It’s embarrassing.