you need to think about which community Fix Wilson Yard is attempting to organize--mainly white condo owners. You cannot separate poverty and race in your article, especially when this is how Fix Wilson Yard has been gaining support. Ending TIF abuse is only a secondary concern for them, a happy side affect. The truth is that they are primarily concerned about falling property values. If they win this lawsuit, will the organizers of Fix Wilson Yard go on to attempt to further reform city hall? I doubt it. Their problem is that they have not organized a "community" so much as people just like them--an interest group that does not speak for many residents of Uptown, including this one.”
hp blogger Tom Tresser on Jan 22, 2009 at 17:06:50
“Many people have weighed in on the motives of Fix Wilson Yard. This is fair criticism. As I said in the article and in some of these posts, I did detect a concern about property values in their work. But I really do detect genuine grassroots passion here around TIFs and the high-handed way the city doles out our funds.
I could be totally wrong - but I'm on a "It's Our Money" band wagon and TIFs are the single biggest slush fund and cesspool of abuse going. I want to recognize and throw a spot light on groups that are fighting TIF abuse.”
“While I agree that TIF abuse and municipal/county corruption are serious issues that Chicagoans should rally around, I think you should ask whether this lawsuit and Fix Wilson Yard would exist at all if the proposed development did not contain any low-income, Section 8 housing. As an Uptown resident, I've witnessed first hand how Fix Wilson Yard supporters have used fear of 'poverty and crime'--Phalen stating that gangs will access the area via Lakeshore--to twist arms for checks. Why doesn't Fix Wilson Yard, or this article, mention that 100 of the units are designated for senior citizens, who will not be joining any gangs? Fix Wilson Yard has honed its message of late from one of protecting property values from 'scary' poor people to self-serving crusader for tax reform. The truth, however, is revealed by reading the comments section of the Fix Wilson Yard Petition which, at least until recently, rarely mention TIF abuse, but expose my neighbors' fear of poverty, crime, and lower property values (many comments are no longer viewable because they were openly racist). I cannot support Fix Wilson Yard because it is more about a war on affordable housing in Chicago than about creating real political reform because, rather than gathering the Uptown community to fight city hall, Fix Wilson Yard has hardened class divisions.”
hp blogger Tom Tresser on Jan 22, 2009 at 16:55:57
“I can totally see your point. Nevertheless, their law suit will serve the greater common good and - I believe - be supported by folks who care about honest government and accountibilty from the city.”