Spring 2019 Edition
As I See It
My “Aha Moment” arrived when I read the title of the Sun Times editorial, dated April 28, criticizing the County Board’s passage of the Just Housing Ordinance.

“Don’t punish landlords to make more housing available for ex-offenders.”

It was only a few days prior to a key Cook County Human Relations Committee meeting that I learned of the Board’s push to enact the Just Housing Ordinance (JHO), an act which prohibits property owners from inquiring about a prospect’s criminal background until after they have been conditionally approved. It seems clear that our County Commissioners deliberately cut the apartment community out of any meaningful dialogue on this consequential piece of legislation. As the Sun-Times headline suggests, this raises a troubling question:

Why would the County enact legislation “punishing landlords” for inquiring about a tenants’ criminal background?
Wednesday, March 27th was a big day in Springfield for those of us who have been following the rent control saga over the past number of months. No fewer than three rent control bills were vying with each other for consideration by the commercial law subcommittee of the Judiciary – Civil committee in the Illinois General Assembly.
Chairman André Thapedi, D-Chicago, decided that three rent control measures was two too many. He requested that the three legislators put forward just one bill for consideration. They complied. HB 255, which proposes to strike down the state ban on local rent control, was chosen. The bill was sponsored by Will Guzzardi, a Democrat representing the 39th District on the Northwest Side of Chicago which includes parts of the rapidly gentrifying Logan Square community.
I had never met Maria Hadden before she graciously agreed to let me interview her for our Newsletter. I went to her office on Morse Avenue for a 4 o’clock appointment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in mid-March. I figured I’d be lucky to get 45 minutes or an hour of her time. After all, she’s got a lot on her plate. Maria won the general election for 49th Ward Alderman on February 26 with over 63% of the popular vote. The unambiguous result allowed her to skip over the run-offs in April. But she is not resting on her laurels. She has a long to-do list as she prepares for her new role. I figured some strange guy from a property-owner organization would not rank very high on her priority list.
The truth is, I do not rank very high on her priority list. But you would not have known it from the warm reception she gave me, or the two hours we ended up spending together, talking about a wide range of issues. Had it not been for another obligation at 6 p.m., Maria might have let me stay even longer. I was honestly sorry to wrap it up.
There has been no lack of legislative initiatives in Springfield lately to preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing in Illinois. Unfortunately, several of these legislative initiatives focus on Rent Control as a cure-all to the region’s affordable housing woes. The Rogers Park Builders Group firmly opposes any effort to adopt rent control in the state. RPBG believes that, far from solving our affordable housing problems, rent control will only make them worse with considerable collateral damage to our livelihoods and the wider economies of the city, region and state.
But a recently introduced bill approaches the affordable housing problem from an entirely different vantage point – one that our organization can and will enthusiastically support. House Bill 2168 is currently up for consideration in the Illinois Assembly and was introduced by Representative Sara Feigenholtz’ (D-Chicago, 12th District). Rep. Feigenholtz has represented the 12th District since 1994, an area that extends along Chicago’s North Side Lakefront from the Gold Coast to Uptown.
As widely reported, the efforts in Springfield to lift the State ban on rent control were recently defeated. While it was determined that rent control is not a practical solution, the affordable housing problem nevertheless remains. So, rather than focusing on what doesn’t work, we must now ask ourselves if there are other solutions that can work to correct this problem. In fact, there is one very cost effective and readily available alternative that is gaining grass roots support and that affordable housing advocates, apartment building owners and city officials can all support.
Before explaining the details, it’s important to understand that all of these interest groups agree that we need far more affordable housing in order to make the city function more efficiently. Hence, the affordable housing issue is clearly a supply issue.
Rogers Park’s newest addition to the fine dining strip on the 6500 block of Sheridan Road truly is a fine dining experience. Not to be confused with Project Onward in Bridgeport (Google it, support it any way you can), our Onward is a pleasant addition to the Rogers Park dinner-scape. In several visits – once to the bar for appetizer’s and drinks and later again for dinners – we were well fed and well treated. In fact the ambiance and style of the place are worth describing even before getting to the food.
For the first time in my years in our wonderfully proletarian neighborhood, I actually walked into a restaurant men’s room that had real cotton towels (not heated, unfortunately) instead of paper. I assume a similar perk for the ladies’ facilities. Even better, after each course, our waiter removed all of our used flatware and replaced it with clean utensils for the next course. On both of our visits to the dining room, service was unflaggingly friendly with both our waiter and the maître d’ attending to our table.
Steve Cain
It’s been a wild start to the year and much of the news, especially over the past month, has been all about politics. Now, I know I’m supposed to steer clear of politics, but I can’t help myself. Both the local and national media have been obsessed with all things political. And who can blame them? With the release of the Mueller report and a riveting local election, there has been little appetite to talk about anything else.

It has certainly been a great time to be Donald Trump. Robert Mueller released his report to Attorney General William Barr on March 22, but the redacted report was not released to the public until April 18, nearly a month later. During that time, Trump and his supporters celebrated his “complete vindication” in the investigation into his alleged ties with the Russians and charges of obstruction of justice. Since its release, Trump has been, shall we say, less enthusiastic in his praise for Mr. Mueller’s report, but no less determined to stick by his “total vindication” claims. In fairness, he is probably right to believe he has dodged the Mueller bullet.
Around Rogers Park
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Rogers Park Builders Group encourages and supports responsible residential and commercial property investment, development, and ownership in the Rogers Park community.