Fall 2018 Edition
I’m reminded lately of the final scene in Animal House after the Deltas caused a riot and Kevin Bacon’s character keeps feebly shouting “Remain Calm!!… All is Well!!” Then he’s flattened by a stampede of parade goers.

At the risk of being flattened, and despite the noise and tumult all around… my advice: REMAIN CALM!

I realize that, if we’re looking for things to fear, there is plenty of fear to be found. Rent control, trade wars, interest rate hikes, new supply, and pension defi-city™. (I haven’t really trade-marked this word but, if it catches on, I call dibs.)
These are serious issues and I’m not trying to diminish them or their potential impact on each one of us. But there’s rarely been a time in my career when there haven’t been looming concerns. Sadly, in the past 30 years, we’ve experienced multiple wars, terrorist attacks, recessions, tax reform, condo-booms, condo-busts and deficits. For those like me who are hyper-vigilant (that’s my euphemism for worrying too much), there is always something to keep us awake at night. But fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or at a minimum, the fear of something is often worse than the actual something. This isn’t just fortune cookie wisdom; it’s how investment markets often function.

The collective something these days is whether the apartment market is at a peak? The obvious answer is that none of us knows. But the underlying answer is that markets frequently reset or correct. For example, the DJIA regularly experiences declines of 10% or more. Going back to 1928, Bespoke Investment Group calculates that this occurs a little more than once a year. Markets have corrections, catch their breath, and then frequently rally again. The nose-bleed peak that condominium converters paid for apartments in 2007 seems cheap today. What might a 2027 peak look like?
We’ve been hearing a lot about rent control in Chicago lately – so much so, in fact, that you might think that this is a purely local issue.

But you would be wrong. Like a lot of movements with local impact, the roots go much deeper. Rent control has emerged as an important policy goal of the progressive movement, a movement that has been energized by the unanticipated election of Donald Trump in 2016 and rapid increases in rents from coast to coast since the end of the last recession.
Not all progressives support rent control. Other solutions include expanded production of affordable housing or wider use of housing vouchers. But a growing number of progressives believe that limiting the rent property owners can charge to tenants is the solution to the housing affordability crisis that is growing across the country, and that is most acutely felt in many of the nation’s largest cities.

This article will look at three other places where the rent control battle is being fought, and how the debate is playing out.
Last year, the Rogers Park Builder ran a series of three articles about immigration, refugee resettlement and Rogers Park. Rogers Park is a community of immigrants. Although this is generally true of the entire country, it is especially true of Rogers Park. Unlike much of the rest of the country, many of the immigrants and refugees living in Rogers Park are recent arrivals, not the descendants of long-ago ancestors who came through Ellis Island.

The Rogers Park community remains one of the most diverse in the city, and takes much of its identity from the incredible variety of the people who call the neighborhood home. Any changes in immigration or refugee resettlement are going to be felt more acutely in Rogers Park than almost anywhere else in the city or suburbs.
Donald Trump won the 2016 election in no small measure due to his hostility toward immigrants and refugees. This hostility has been on plain view since he took office. If anything, the President’s antipathy toward immigrants and refugees has grown more pronounced over his nearly two years in office. After a long battle through the lower courts, the Trump Administration emerged victorious in a battle with immigrant advocates when it beat back a series of lower court rulings against its travel ban. The Supreme Court finally ruled in Trump’s favor in a five-to-four decision this past June 26th.

Given the dramatic changes in attitude toward immigrants – certainly within the Trump Administration, but more broadly across the country – it makes sense to take another look at recent trends in immigration and refugee policies, and to measure the impacts these changes are having on the Rogers Park community.
Around Rogers Park
As I See It
In the early 1980s, while a Senior at the University of Rochester, I received shocking news. The City of Rochester announced plans to install parking meters along the stretch of Wilson Boulevard aligning the campus, the preferred area where students owning cars could park.

Determined to take action, I assumed a new role – that of ‘student activist,’ and I brought my case to the Rochester City Council, ultimately prevailing.

Admittedly (and perhaps a tad bit shamefully), I recognize that my issue did not rank among the top social issues of the day (divesting university assets invested in South Africa was then the big issue) and my campaign was clearly fueled by self-interest, as where else would I be able to park?

Yet, in my three years at Rochester, my little interaction with the Rochester City Council was one of the few a student like me would have with the urban center where our university was located. (My other interaction with Rochester involved late night jaunts to a downtown greasy spoon called Nick Tahoes, where we would eat their infamous “Garbage Plates,” – my stomach hurts just mentioning it!)

Besides these chance interaction, a student’s life was experienced nearly completely within the university’s bubble, and we had little reason to ever step out of it.

Times have changed.
Steve Cain
We live in turbulent times. It seems as if everyone is angry all the time and, increasingly, willing to act on their anger. This was on full display the last week of October when a political zealot and all-around loser living out of a van in South Florida tried to send pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, and then even more so when another, even bigger loser walked into a Synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire. The eleven dead were among a congregation of innocent people peacefully gathered in the presumed safety of their place of worship. This was just the latest of a never-ending string of shootings with semi-automatic weapons that have become as American as apple pie.

Could the unrest in our society be having an impact on our economy? After months and even years of gains, the stock markets have suddenly hit some major turbulence. This began early in October and has continued since then.

Some of this is surely due to business concerns: there were some surprises – both good and bad – in corporate earnings; interest rates have been rising; the markets remain jittery about fallout from tariffs and escalating trade wars; and after nearly ten years of recovery, everyone knows that a correction is going to have to happen sooner or later.

But I can’t shake the feeling that the sudden unrest in the stock markets also reflects a broader unrest in our country and our world. As we go from one crisis to the next, the level of anger across a broad cross-section of our society just keeps increasing, and the red-blue divide keeps growing. You can see this on the left with calls for rent control and the vilification of property owners. You can see it in Pilsen and Logan Square and, yes, in Rogers Park where long-time residents decry gentrification and the changes occurring in “their” neighborhoods.
Builders Group News
Shari Haefner is a person of many interests and talents and a long-time resident of Rogers Park. She is naturally outgoing and loves to connect with other people, both personally and professionally.
Verella Osborne, President, Legal Document Management, Inc.
The State of Illinois mandated consolidated electronic filing of all legal documents via the state database, effective January 1, 2018. Several counties, including Cook and Du Page, received extensions to the mandate: January 1, 2019 for DuPage, and July 1, 2018 for Cook.

With July 2018 now firmly in the rear view mirror, all Cook County eviction lawsuits must be filed electronically through the state e-filing system by using third party “e-filing service providers.” The first 60 days following this transition was a nightmare, with several database fields breaking down on a regular basis, significantly delaying efficient filing. Tyler Technologies, the company contracted by the state to program and manage this database, has corrected many of the initial programming problems, but the “return date” and “motion hearing” fields still routinely freeze and seem to be overwhelmed by volume.

Cook County initially made no distinction between the filing of a personal injury lawsuit and an eviction lawsuit. As a result, during the first few weeks of filing, it took days to receive an “accepted” filed suit, often too late to have the Sheriff serve the summons before the trial date. Tyler Technologies has corrected this problem after many complaints. Now, eviction lawsuits are given priority review by the court clerks. 
Once again in 2018, RPBG provided generous support to the Rogers Park community through a series of charitable donations. The organization directly contributed $7,300 to a variety of charitable causes and non-profit groups around the neighborhood. Members and Directors contributed thousands more out of their own pockets.
Friends of Sullivan, a non-profit organization founded and supported by RPBG members, contributed even more to local Rogers Park public schools. This includes more than $15,000 that individual RPBG members and other owners in the Rogers Park community donated in funds and services to help restore the Sullivan library with expanded functionality as a lounge , welcome center and working space (with state of the art furniture) for the school’s large population of students who speak English as a second language.
(773) 728-9900 | www.rpbg.org
Rogers Park Builders Group encourages and supports responsible residential and commercial property investment, development, and ownership in the Rogers Park community.