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With the Aldermanic elections coming up next week, we voters in the 49th Ward will soon decide if we are ready for change.

One need only look back at the last Presidential election to know that “change for the
sake of change” is not always a prudent course.

Maria Hadden is running a strong campaign, acknowledging that Alderman Moore has done some good things, yet contending that now is the time for new leadership.

For those of you who remain undecided, now might be a good time to take a pause and consider whether our Ward would truly be better off with a new Alderman.

Alderman Moore’s seniority in the City Council is a huge asset for the 49th Ward and Chicago

Let’s consider the dismal state of Chicago finances – pension liability and all. Without question, our new City Council will be operating in an atmosphere with tight budgets, and Aldermen will be scrambling, making sure that they can deliver scarce resources for their Wards.

If Alderman Moore wins another term, he will be among the top three aldermen with seniority.
With many years of experience and knowledge of the workings of City Hall, such experience can offer a boon for our Ward.

With the financial challenges that our city faces, we need elected officials with seniority who understand the complexities of the issues – realizing that solutions that might sound attractive often can result in unintended consequences. Alderman Moore appreciates the complexities of challenging problems facing the city, and realizes that the correct answer is not always politically popular.

With tenure on the City Council, Alderman Moore realizes the complexity of the issues that the City faces, and how they are inner connected. Approaches to problems dealing with budgeting impact education, which impact public safety, which impact housing, which impacts job creation. There are no miracle cures – and given that there will be a new mayor and many new City Council members, we are served by having someone with seniority and an appreciation of the seriousness and complexity of the problems that the City faces.

Given his years of experience, Alderman Moore knows how to get things done

One terrific example is the Levy Home on Sherwin. Last Summer, I toured the building when it was on the market, and was told that there were no rental restrictions in place – and that all apartments could be repurposed. I felt uncomfortable seeing these seniors comfortably residing in their homes – and though the existing provider was offering to relocate them to the suburbs, I questioned the impact of a sale on these valued residents.

Given the wealth of his contacts, and his status as Chairman of the Housing & Real Estate Committee, Alderman Moore was able to arrange for the CHA to purchase the building and keep these seniors in their homes.

Years of experience means something and can make a difference, as happened in this instance.

Alderman Moore ‘s staff knows how to do their jobs

Given Alderman Moore’s position as a Committee Chair and his seniority, he is afforded the luxury of having six full-time staff members, rather than the three that a new alderman would likely have.

Alderman Moore’s staff is hard working, talented and deeply committed to maintaining quality service to constituents. More important – they know how to do their jobs, and they don’t need to learn how to navigate the complex web that is City Hall.

With twice the staff size, and with their levels of experience, Alderman Moore’s office is well equipped to handle constituent needs, whether it is a pothole repair, tree limb removal, procurement of a business license or a range of other requests that come into the office daily. Among Alderman Moore’s staff is a competent staff person who devotes a considerable amount of time assuring that the Participatory Budgeting process runs smoothly..

Alderman Moore is committed to doing his job the right way, even if unpopular

When I first got involved in this community in 1992, the neighborhood was not doing well. Many buildings were owned by undercapitalized property owners, and, in some instances, by slumlords. Drug dealing and crime was persistent. Nearly all of the schools were deeply challenged, and the business climate was quite poor.

Many of us who were property owners were hesitant to even describe our neighborhood as “Rogers Park” because of the negative connotation associated with the name.

Alderman Moore has had to make many difficult decisions over the years, and he has navigated us competently – heeding the needs of those seeking affordable living opportunities, yet also encouraging and supporting responsible development.

Rogers Park continues to be a home for our country’s newest residents, and our community retains an energetic diversity reflected in many ways: racial, ethnic, religious, economic, gender identity, age, etc.

Under Alderman Moore’s leadership, the community continues to evolve as a safe (third lowest crime rate among the city’s Police Districts), dynamic and exciting place to live, work and play.

With Alderman Moore, we have an experienced and competent leader who might be best suited to take us through the next four years – in what undoubtedly will be challenging times.

Experience does count and is vitally important at a time when there exists such grave issues plaguing the City. I encourage you to vote to re-elect Alderman Joe Moore.

Michael Glasser

Mike is a long time Rogers Park resident, and is actively involved in a number or local organizations. He presently serves as President of the Rogers Park Builders Group, North Side Community Development Corporation and the newly formed “Friends of Sullivan.” Previously, Mike was an eight year Board member of Family Matters, and he co-founded the Rogers Park Business and Artists Networking Group (RP BizArts), which, for fifteen years, hosted monthly networking meetings for businesses and artists throughout the Ward.

 

At a Sullivan High School alumnus group meeting I attended over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful senior citizen (and dog breeder) named George - who, I believe graduated from Sullivan High School, Class of ’48 or ’49.

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It seems all but certain that the Pritzker administration will look to gaming as a source of needed revenue.

Illinois has a long history with depending on various forms of gaming to generate state funds. For years, Illinois has generated revenue through horse racing. The state lottery was introduced in the 1970s; the early ’90s, riverboat casinos. (The Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, which opened in 2011 sits above a few inches of water in a shallow pit.) In the last couple of years, video gaming regained popularity.

What form of legalized gaming might we see next? Sports booking? Land based casinos, perhaps on the Michael Reese site?

Yet there is presently legislation afoot in Illinois which would usher in a new era of gaming into Illinois, one highly disrupting.

In the past year statewide elected officials have introduced legislation that would lift the statewide ban on rent control; other legislation proposes creation of rent control boards that would oversee rent increases, and require property owner to seek approval from such boards to allow them to renovate apartments.

What does legislation that could result in rent control have to do with gaming?

Plenty, if we pay attention to other jurisdictions that have experimented with rent control. ‘Players’ from both sides of the landlord-tenant equation see rent control affording them with an incredible opportunity to ‘game’ the system.

Tenants? Ask folks in New York or in San Francisco and hear stories of tenants who score a rent control apartment. Within a few years, their rent control cost may fall well short of market rent. So even though they may well be able to afford a higher end apartment, or even a home that they purchase, they opt to never leave. Or, worse, they would move out, and surreptitiously sublet the apartment to someone else, charging them market rent. The spread between the sublet price and the rent control price ends up in the tenant’s pocket.

Property owners might game the system as well. Suppose a system is imposed where property owners must seek approval from a rent control board to phase in improvements to one of their buildings. As much as I like to think that all property owners are righteous and honest souls, one can easily conjure an image of fake and fraudulent submissions – where the work is never completed. For evidence, look no further to the alleged improprieties by Jared Kushner and Michael Cohen in New York.

The gaming might not end there. Lawyers on both sides of the landlord tenant divide may allege rent control violations when their purpose is to achieve another outcome. City inspectors , members of rent control boards and even alderman could use the threat of rent control measures to achieve ends other than those that rent control is intended to solve.

Yikes!

Face it. The market imbalances caused by price fixing only fuels the motivation by many to game the system.

All this said – there are other approaches that elected officials and folks in the industry must consider to deal with affordable housing challenges. Simply capping rent increases is a simplistic ‘solution’ that sounds good to many. Yet, if one considers the unintended consequences, we learn that rent control only diminishes the supply of affordable housing, when the only assured long term solution is for developers to construct more housing.

When presented with legislation seeking to lift the state wide ban on rent control, I suggest that state lawmakers simply ‘fold’ and devote their focus on solutions that can actually work.

Dear Neighbor;

As the Rogers Park community deals with the aftermath of last month’s tragic double shootings, a certain holiday appears on our calendars that offers us a powerful message - and an opportunity for healing, unity and attaining resolve.

Contrary to what a reformed Jew like me learned growing up, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah is about a lot more than exchanging gifts. Rather, as explained by Rabbi Yoel Wolf of Chabad of E. Rogers Park, it is a celebration of light.

“The nature of light is that it is always victorious over darkness. A small amount of light dispels a lot of darkness. Another act of goodness and kindness, another act of light, can make all the difference.” explains Rabbi Wolf.

On Monday, December 3, 2018, the Orthodox community of West Rogers Park, in deep grief over the loss of Eliyahu Moscowitz, is bringing their Chanukah celebration to the lakefront, only a few feet away from the spot where Eliyahu was murdered. (Every year the community leads a joyous Chanukah parade - this year’s ‘end point’ will be at Loyola Beach, near Lunt.) Then, at 7PM, joined by those who mourn the loss of the other victim, Douglas Watts, the Chabad of E. Rogers Park will light a giant Menorah in memory of Eliyahu, and host a short and uplifting Chanukah celebration, where they will serve traditional latke pancakes, doughnuts, live music and song.

Rabbi Wolf reached out to me and asked if we would be sure to invite the East Rogers Park community, to join in the celebration, commemorating the memory of both of the gentlemen whom we have lost and bringing light to our dark moment.

Giant Menorah Lighting
Loyola Park (near Lunt)
Monday, December 3, at 7:00pm
Free of charge

Join us in what will undoubtedly be an uplifting and special moment in our community.

For more information, please read Yoel's press release.

- Mike Glasser