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Posted by westtowner on 08/23/2010 at 9:24 PM

Re: “A TIF Under the Microscope

BJ is, as the saying goes, entitled to his own opinions but he is not entitled to his own facts. He states (without qualificaton) that "Millennium Park, which used about $280 million in TIF funds, cost roughly $500 million altogether..."

The $280 million value is not supported by the facts.

You will find the correct values on pages 169-170 of Timothy Gilfoyle's masterful book "Creating a
Chicago Landmark: Millennium Park."

City Bonds: $167 million (Revenue producing from MP garage)
TIF funds: $95 million (Central Loop)
Donation: $222 Million (from 115 individuals, foundations and corporations)

Total Cost: $484 million

Elsewhere in the book, Gilfoyle writes that $85 million of the $95 million in TIF funds were used to
retire short-term construction bonds in 2000 and 2002 and this limited use may explain why only some
$9000 funds were unaccounted for.

Millennium Park is the jewel of the Chicago lakefront and worth every penny spent on it.

Don't believe me? Go there at random times during the summer (as I do) and you will find one big happy mingling of locals and tourists, of ages and races, of rich and poor.

To repeat: worth every penny spent on it!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by westtowner on 07/17/2010 at 8:59 PM

Re: “Less Is More at CPS

While BJ may have slogged through 350 pages of numbers to come up with his latest "scandal", it only took me a few minutes to go to the statistics page of the CPS site (see link below) to undercover some startling statistics: the CPS employs over 23,000 teachers whose average salary is $75,000 and 592 school administrators, average salary $120,000.…

Further exploring and I discovered the pay tables for teachers, the lowest number is $48,600 for a 38.6 week year at 6.25 hours a day, the highest $108,000 for a 52 week, 6 hour day. Principals and assistant principal pay range is $99,500 to $166,800.…

Like everything BJ writes about, he reports only those things which support his stand and ignores those which might lead in an another direction. In this case, the real salary crunch is not what a handful of Huberman's staffers earn, it's the salaries paid to the thousands of teachers and hundreds of principals.

Posted by westtowner on 05/29/2010 at 3:34 PM

Re: “The Shadow Budget: Who Wins in Daley's TIF Game

I wish the authors had spent time to examine total tax receipts from each of the wards with the highest TIF allocations, specifically the downtown 2nd and 27th wards, but also those wards with minor TIF benefits such as the 42nd and 43rd wards.

But then when you start out with an agenda, i.e. TIFs and Daley are evil, evil, evil, then you willfully ignore the fact that the various taxing bodies collect billions from the wealthy areas and these monies support police, fire and, especially, education in the poorer sections.

Posted by westtowner on 05/21/2010 at 8:54 PM

Re: “A Raise by Any Other Name

If you believe like BJ does that anyone making over $35,000 a year is a capitalist pig then you will eagerly buy his lame "exposures." The CPS is huge with a 5.5 billion dollar budget, 400,000 students and tens of thousands of employees. And the (unfortunate) guy who runs it makes only $200,000 (or so) a year? And his salary ranks 59th in the state? Who are you people?

Posted by westtowner on 04/16/2010 at 9:25 PM

Re: “Shedding Light on the Shadow Budget


Ad hominem abusive (also called argumentum ad personam) usually involves insulting or belittling one's opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent's argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent's personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent's arguments or assertions.

(from the Wikipedia entry on ad hominem.)

Posted by westtowner on 12/13/2009 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Shedding Light on the Shadow Budget

I guess "fairness" is in the eyes of the beholder.

I live in a small 11 unit condo complex in a non-TIF district. We pay in total, rough estimate, $45-50K in real estate taxes. Half of that goes to the CPS, another quarter to the city and the other quarter to a variety of other taxing bodies. I will also note that there is not a single minor among us so we get no benefit from half the taxes we pay.

Drive up Michigan Avenue north of the river and then through Lincoln Park and the associated neighborhoods of Lincoln Park itself and Lakeview and as you cruise those areas you will find the most expensive residences in the city. None of these properties are in a TIF district so the real estate taxes on all those multimillion residences you pass goes to support the schools, the city, the ParkDistrict and the Cook County entities.

If you are honest with yourself, you will be forced to admit, that it is these areas of affluence that pay for what a lot of the rest of the city enjoys. You may also realize that a single high-rise condo building in, say, Steeterville, pays a huge tab for, say the CPS with minimum or no benefit.

Would these people put up with this unfairness if Chicago wasn't a "decent" place to live?

Do the improvement made possible by the central area TIFs, for example, make this a better place to live?

I say, yes.

Posted by westtowner on 12/12/2009 at 9:18 AM

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