Today’s Headlines for Thursday, January 4

  • Op-Ed: O’Hare Express Plan Is a One-Trick Pony, But CrossRail Would Improve It (Tribune)
  • Kennedy: Emanuel Has a “Strategic Gentrification Plan” to Push Out Black Residents (Sun-Times)
  • Bruce Rauner Discusses Transportation Infrastructure With the Herald-News
  • Chicago Man, 27, Fatally Struck at Howard and Ridge in Evanston (Daily Northwestern)
  • Woman Catches Alleged Red Line Thief, Detains Him Until Police Arrive (ABC)
  • Landscape Group: Banning Cars From Cornell Drive Goes Against Olmsted’s Vision (Sun-Times)
  • Resident Questions the Value of the New Aurora Ped Bridge, Officials Defend It (Tribune)
  • CTA Bus Tracker Was Down for a Few Hours Yesterday Due to a Software Glitch (Fox)
  • Tips for Riding Transit in Cold Weather (Chicago Tribune)
  • Active Trans (Brilliantly!) Celebrates the Designation of Biking as Illinois’ Official Exercise

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  • Tooscrapps

    It’s interesting how the Sun-Times spun the The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s concerns. While I haven’t read the actual submission (anyone know how to find it?), the piece on their website does not highlight closing Cornell to automobiles as a major issue:

    Furthermore, while automobiles did exist in 1895, they were decades from being mainstream. Olmsted intended these park roads to be walking, carriage, and biking promenades, similar to what you would find in say the gardens at Versailles. It’s a stretch to say a fast moving 6-lane drag is the same thing.

  • Cameron Puetz

    In addition to easing highway congestion, if implemented across the wider region, the Crossrail proposal could also ease airfield congestion and be a boon travelers outside of the immediate Chicago region. If the system allowed passengers from downstate, Wisconsin, and Indiana who would otherwise board a regional jet to start or finish their trip on a regional high speed train, it could save travelers money and ease O’Hare congestion, while also making it easier to travel to and from Chicago from the rest of the Midwest.

  • rohmen

    As far as Kennedy’s attacks on Emanuel, I think it’s fair to define a “plan” by city hall to encompass conscious indifference to the known effects of the city’s actions in terms of what’s going on with the CHA.

    It’s a fact that we’re losing African-American population while gaining in every other racial category. It’s a fact — even as the Sun Times seems to acknowledge — that a part of that pattern is the removal of CHA projects without CHA using its massive stockpile of funds to replace the housing lost by the removal of those units. That’s a defined city action, with the impacts known and apparent. With that said, Kennedy’s comments are somewhat bombastic, but they’re pretty far from conspiracy theory in nature, and are hard to label as purely irresponsible.

  • Jeremy

    Here is a story of Emanuel touring the new houses built in Bronzeville. The city sold lots to developers for $1. Prices of the houses start at $600,000.

  • planetshwoop

    Where we do get any facts about the CHA cash pile? I’ve heard it commonly referenced, but never seen many facts. (I also have not dug into their statements.)

  • rohmen

    I think the Reader has some good articles on it as well, but here’s the quickest google hit I could find (and something I’ve read in the past).

  • planetshwoop

    I am not an analyst, and haven’t read the justification for the investment funds the CHA maintains. I found their financial statements a bit harder to read than most companies too — it’s possible there are restrictions and such that I didn’t get.

    Having said that, after digging through their financial statements for a small bit this afternoon, they have a decent pile of money. Some of their funds are sitting on huge piles of investment assets that they must invest in really safe stuff (basically govt bonds). So they seem to have a big hoard of investment assets (bonds) that they aren’t investing in housing to create capital assets (housing).

  • ohsweetnothing

    I’ve heard the “Massive stockpile of CHA funds” line for so long that I may actually find it darkly humorous when people realize that the agency is not too far away from having the opposite problem.

    But hey, narratives gonna narrative I guess.

  • rohmen

    Is HUD back in 2015 pointing to CHA’s own audit reports as reflecting that they had a ridiculous surplus a “narrative?”

    Facts aren’t relative. CHA’s own audits show that they sat on — and then diverted (which is why their reserves are no lower) cash into pensions, early debt reduction, bond investments, etc. — that could have been used during a time when people likely needed it most.

  • rohmen

    Which would be a financial plan that made total sense if the CHA were an investment fund rather than, you know, a housing authority tasked with creating affordable housing opportunities in Chicago.

  • ohsweetnothing

    That is indeed a damning headline, shame the actual article doesn’t live up to it. Also nevermind that there have been several explanations for the reserve build up since by not only CHA, but other affordable housing groups and the CHA’s own court-appointed receiver. None of that is hard to find. So yes, narrative.

    And nothing in that story from 3 years ago challenges my initial assertion that CHA (by their own public documents) is not far away from having the opposite problem.

  • rohmen

    The only justification I have ever read as to why CHA maintained a massive reserve from at least 2011 to 2015/16 is that private development was down given the recession, and CHA’s preferred method was funding private development that included affordable housing/CHA units. I find that far from a compelling reason, and there are many affordable housing advocates and organizations that think the CHA’s approach to mixed-income communities has been a disaster anyway.

    So, “narrative” right back at you.

  • ohsweetnothing

    I mean, that’s fine. People can disagree or not find it compelling, sure. That doesn’t change the fact that it has been the agency’s plan since 1999/2000 and a massive recession definitely would definitely hurt said plan.

    I’ve seen many of the alternatives and I find the ones I can recall off the top of my head not compelling, incredibly naive, and/or flat out illegal. But that’s a tangent that deserves it’s own post.

    And again, none of that changes that the “massive” reserves have been steadily decreasing and are very close to being (if not already) depleted. Again by CHA’s own documents. And that’s to make no mention that it’s an organization over 90% Federally funded at an…interesting…time in Federal government.

  • rohmen

    I disagree with it, obviously, though I recognize it has obviously been CHA’s key plan. Emanuel, as a CHA board member at the time, was an actual architect of that plan—which is why Kennedy wasn’t off base when he said Emanuel has had a “Strategic Gentrification Plan” to push out black residents. Sure, it’s a point open for debate, but it’s not an irrational or conspiracy theorist claim.

    Many, myself included, think the CHA has been ineffective to the point where it’s intentional. Feel free to disagree accordingly.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Haha, man okay. We obviously disagree on this and I doubt I’m going to sway you, but I will leave this by suggesting that it is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the CHA Board is or does to think they are the “architects” of the Plan for Transformation. Board meetings are public, feel free to attend one if you can and see for yourself.