October 26, 2010

A Whole New Can of Worms

RIF, TIF – Look out taxpayers

“This is an effort to preserve affordable housing if there is another housing boom, said Marilyn Pagan-Banks, executive director of A Just Harvest and a leader in Northside P.O.W.E.R. “TIF’s do work, and can work, and the whole process can be reformed,” said Pagan-Banks.”

The article states volunteers spoke to “…landlords and tenants to design this idea.” I shudder to think of some of the landlords our hard earned tax dollars might go to. Some of the landlords in this area North of Howard are non-resident owners who could care less about their tenants or the community as a whole. So what if the single mom, her kids, grandkids and ‘the man’ with the ankle bracelet are disturbing everyone’s peace up and down a whole block? The absentee landlord doesn’t lose sleep from his tenants year round antics. So we deal with anti-social behaviors, kids tearing up flower pots, terrorizing and or killing small animals, shooting like cowboys, beating one another up all the while, the absentee landlord is deaf. Ben Myers wants to be alderman but cant’ manage his tenants

We have too many absentee’s here so, this RIF proposal and the presence of Pagan-Banks should set off a light bulb. If you recall, she and Danny Boy Romero had a brilliant idea of getting TIF money to train people for union construction jobs on the Howard El. However, their church organization that was all set to do the ‘training’ wasn’t certified. Translation: The organization was frothing to get the TIF money. Oops! Northside Power Strikes Out

So, there were discussions with an unstated number of landlord and tenants. Where were the big outreach meetings to everyone who pays taxes for input? I attended that June 2009 meeting where the old rhetoric of ‘stand up if you believe’ and ‘will you support us’ filled an afternoon meeting. If this ward could have more meat and potatoes and less drama – we might actually be progressive!

If you find the Medill article less than balanced, researched, be sure to check out the insert box or ‘Fact Sheet’ and make sure you put extra cash aside that could possibly help some of the problem buildings posted on this blog for the past 5 years. You may live next to one. You may have had bullets land in your home, hit your car….but we need to be sensitive here neighbors. We should just keep paying for the oversights, lack of planning, lack of proper management and above all, lack of proper screening. A good landlord keeps rents down so he can keep good tenants and he screens them, does background checks and has the right to insert language in the lease concerning drug use and obnoxious behavior.

The term troubled building is a fairly simple equation: Any building that has frequent complaints from neighbors and/or has had 2 felony arrests in a 6 month period.

If you want a better understanding of TIFS, there will be a gathering at Loyola Park Field House on Saturday, October 30 at 3 PM.

Come and learn the facts about TIFs:
Tax Increment Finance (TIF) 101
What it is and WHY IT HAS TO GO!

Presented by:
Tom Tresser
Green Party candidate for Cook County Board President
Lead Organizer for No Games Chicago

More Info on TIFS


Kheris said...

What I have been told is that the TIF process needs reforming, and that this process would be consistent with a reform process. Landlords providing subsidized housing are not supposed to be included.

I don't know if it will work, and I am unhappy with TIFs on their face, but unless TIFs are reformed first I can't imagine it having much traction among taxpayers.

Toni said...

The Howard Theatre was 'rehabbed' on TIF dollars. Nuf Said.

The Hot Door is 1625 Howard -

The North Coast said...

The TIF process does not need "reforming"... it needs to be eliminated. We need to work for the repeal of the 1952 legislation that enables this wholesale THEFT of tax monies for doubtful private purposes.

There is NO SHORTAGE of inexpensive housing in Rogers Park for good tenants. There is, however, an increasing "shortage" of landlords and neighbors willing to put up the kind of tenants this "affordable" housing is meant to accommodate.

And I have news for Ms. Pagan: there will be NO housing boom for the next twenty years. We have taken the debt creation/asset inflation model of economic fake "growth" as far as we can, and I foresee that housing will remain "affordable" for a long time out.

The TIF will do nothing for the struggling lower-middle income tenants struggling to retain their market-rate apartments. Instead, it will cause property tax hikes that will drive up market-rate rents.

Please. All this TIF is, is taxpayer-financed welfare for slumlords. I'm told that one of the promoters sits on the zoning board in this ward and another is a slumlord who will benefit greatly.

The losers will be most of the property owners and market-rate tenants in this neighborhood, including mostly unsubsidized minimum wage workers who do NOT create the problems in this area, but who will be priced out of their apartments to accommodate welfare lowlifes and line the back pockets of slumlords.

We don't need to throw any more money at "affordable" housing, ever, but especially when rents are being pushed down by the glut of condos reverting to rental. And we sure as hell don't need any property tax increases to make up for the "increment" that is diverted away from essential municipal services and infrastructure improvements.

Let's stop diverting public money for private purposes. We can't afford more of this. The city is nearly bankrupt and our police dept has been cut to the bare minimum, while critical infrastructure upgrades, that will only become prohibitively expensive as we confront increasing fuel costs, are being delayed.