Misguided Outrage

A story in the Logan Square edition of DNA Info this weekend strongly questioned Ald. Roberto Maldonado’s stance on fighting gentrification along the 606 trail. Maldonado is in favor of legislation currently being drafted in the council that would make it costlier for developers to convert multi-family properties in the area into single-family properties—an attempt to fight the wave of gentrification that has moved more than 20,000 Latino families from the area over the past three years. But critics object to Maldonado’s stance on the grounds that he previously profited from this kind of development in Logan Square. This outrage is misguided and might interfere with legislation that might actually preserve affordable housing in the neighborhood.

The 606 trail opened in June of 2015 along the Bloomingdale Line, a train route that had stopped operations in the early 2000’s. Throughout its development and construction, area residents worried about the trail’s capacity to encourage more gentrification in the area. The story reports that Maldonado bought and sold profit near the 606 trail–at a profit of more than $300,000. However, the story presents this buying and selling as more nefarious than it might be in reality. As the story itself details, Maldonado was pushed to sell the property in the first place out of fears that he could be accused of conflicts of interest because he owned property in the area.

Additionally, although the property that Ald. Maldonado sold will be converted from multi-family housing to single-family housing, he is not ultimately responsible for what the new developers will do with the land. Hypocrisy in politics is ugly, but it’s ugliest when people propose something good and then do the opposite. As it stands, this legislation is an attempt to disincentivize converting multi-family homes into single-family homes.  We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, and I hope that the writers at DNAInfo (who I think do an amazing job in Chicago and the Logan Square area) lean way from sensational angles in their reporting until they hit on real corruption. I also hope that this misguided outrage doesn’t get in the way of this or any other initiative to preserve affordable housing in Logan Square.

Government-Assisted Market Failure: America’s Higher Ed Accreditation System

Many of today’s political fights boil down to fights about what the government should provide, and what it should leave for the “free market” to do. It’s part of the argument about health care, public schools, and public housing. I would argue that these are all fields that have shown substantial market failures, fields where […]

Hoping for a Fight

Whenever I tell people that I’m studying public policy, they’ll invariably say, “Well, what a good time for it!” I wonder if they mean it; I sometimes feel like this isn’t the right time to learn about laws, regulations, procedures, and institutions: it feels like they’re crumbling all around us. In part, that’s a mirage. Congress […]

We Are All Complete Beside Ourselves (Review, ish)

They say that novels are about everything, but short stories are about one thing. In that way, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is more like a short story or novella than a novel. It’s got more than one thing to tell you, but the one thing it focuses on is brutal. I was recently talking […]

Language & women & art

Three of the books I’ve read recently have disappointed me because of their portrayal of women. Part of what’s frustrating about the feeling is that I worry that I’ve ruined myself for popular media by being so conscious all the time about the injuries the world inflicts on women, minorities, and people who know the difference […]

Under the Radar #1: Awesome Stuff You’ve Never Heard Of

There used to be a feature on WNYC by Leonard Lopate called “Underreported.” In that same spirit, I want to start evangelizing some of the stuff that I think is great and is either underrated or just flies under the radar. Full Benefits (Web series) College Humor has quite a few webseries, but none have hooked me quite […]

Today’s Podcast List

OntheMedia – “The Country of the Future” The OntheMedia team heads to Brazil to investigate their current political and budgetary issues as well as whether their media system is manipulated with the state’s pocket book. This American Life – “Getting Your Money’s Worth” Stories about getting your money’s worth–including an awkward segue to one of […]

Some kickstarter stuff I’d actually buy

I love the idea of Kickstarter; a place where products get to sing for their supper before they’re on the shelves. With that said, I think there are a lot of misguided ideas in addition to the cool-but-infeasible or the cool-but-impractical. But I have seen a couple that I could see myself buying! Phree – A […]

Keys found inexplicably taped to pants

My BFF Mindy found this set of emails while going through her old Hotmail account. They were written during my second year of college. Email the First Email the Second

In the middle of

A list of the books I’m in the middle of, in roughly the order in which I think it might be likely to finish them: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (Update: finished. Meh.) I’m currently reading this, and will probably finish it. I read the first few pages while in San Diego last week. I didn’t […]