Does Rogers Park deserve its bloggers?

I normally bristle at any suggestion that “the media” bears much responsibility for the state of the housing market, despite the all-too-frequent negative slants on housing stats.

When it comes to Rogers Park, however, I’m inclined to sympathize with the real estate professionals who contend that some of the neighborhood bloggers are an unwarranted drag on property values, sales and rentals. Rogers Park has undeniable issues but, if some its bloggers are to be believed, it has no redeeming qualities.

Should Rogers Park bloggers just put their cameras aside, turn off their police scanners, take a month off, enjoy the beaches and bike paths, and try to gain some perspective?

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 40
  • LOL! The agents are mad because some people have the nerve to shed some light on the troubles in Rogers Park, messing with their ability to sell over-priced condos to naive buyers.

  • Mr Zekas said…> “Should Rogers Park bloggers just put their cameras aside, turn off their police scanners, take a month off, enjoy the beaches and bike paths, and try to gain some perspective?”

    Are you kidding me? I’ve taken plenty a vacation this year. I’ve been to Luxenbuorg, France, Germany, England, Ireland and Japan this year – riding my bike. I just got back from Las Vegas doing some motorcycle riding. Don’t you read my blog?

    Tell your realtors who weren’t mentioned in this story to stop contributing to Joe Moore’s campaign coffers and we just may be able to close down the ‘Broken Heart’.

  • Craig,

    You already know that I read your blog, so skip the attitude.

    Take this opportunity to tell our readers what attracted you to Rogers Park and what you like about it. What’s your favorite beach, for example? Having read your blog for some time, I’ve entirely missed anything positive that you’ve written about Rogers Park.

    Perhaps you can encourage some new people to move in and help solve the problems that you seem to relish.

  • Stewie 9 years

    We’re supposed to pity the REALTORS who made fortunes in duping poor individuals into buying “investments” which cost more than they could afford? “Investments” which are now tanking? We’re supposed to be outraged at the people who are taking a stand against their aggressive, greedy tactics?

    Please, REALTORS deserve little sympathy for the mess they were partly responsible for creating.

  • Craigie VERY seldom puts anything positive on his blog. Even mentioning a new business or neighborhood event VERY seldom happens.

    Now I happen to think a Rogers Park blog similar to the Uptown Update would be a nice addition for that hood. Craig’s blog is good, but very limited in its scope.

    As I have said before the Uptown Update covers the good, bad and ugly of Uptown and the 46th Ward. There is plenty of good, bad and ugly in Rogers Park that is largely not being covered.

    Oh well. Back to my web surfing.

    Ooops, I hardly think in the scale of problems facing Rogers Park that Craig’s blog is even in the top ten. Number one: Joseph “Bog Irish” Moore.

    Now someone out there start a “Rogers Park Report” and give Craigie a run for his money.

  • Note that my question was about RP bloggers – plural. I was not singling out Craig.

  • Joe,

    Craig is the “mother of all RP bloggers”. Hopefully, things will turn out better for him than “Saddam ‘Mother of all Battles” Hussein”.

    My observation can be applied to many RP bloggers. Where is the positive to go along with the negative?

    Perhaps I am missing it.

  • Too funny that the realtors are scared of more information being available to buyers. Too long have they been able to use information asymmetry to prop up their business model. Now that buyers can be armed with better information they are scared of what it will do to their cash cow. Instead of innovating and figuring out how to better serve customers, most of them seem to resort to this type of grumbling about how it isn’t fair. I say good for those people who are shining a light on the problems of RP and other areas of Chicago. It is only fair that buyers have access to ALL the information and not just the stuff in the glossy sales brochures of realtors.

    I disagree with Joe and Irish that the RP bloggers have some duty to cover positive and negative. They are private sites run by individuals who started their blogs for a purpose. Sure it would be nice if there were additional sources that covered both good and bad, but blaming them for lower home prices is ridiculous. Why do you think they have to write about their favorite beach? I don’t read those blogs to find out their favorite beach, rather I want to know about what is going in RP from people that are on the streets every day.

    While I enjoy this site, some times it is so pro-realtor/developer it is crazy, including all the sponsored posts that we can’t comment on. But you know what, it is a private site so Joe can write whatever he wants just like the RP bloggers.

    • mary kelly-langer 5 years

      You’re right on the money. If they want to whine about property values…look to the mortgage lending institutions called’BANKS’….many of whom were in -volved in predatory lending that skewed the whole picture……as the saying goes’ what goes up must come down.’ I have lived in many Chicago neighborhoods and other cities…and have come to a few simple conclusions: when urban growth dictates a need for new areas, due to inflated pricing in much sought after areas……other areas will become desirable by virtue of sheer necessity and demand. These areas are usually contiguous to existing ‘desireable’ areas. The little ‘guy or gal’ can then jump in with the mone..the big guns behind the scenes will also surface. You can’t tell me that some of the powers that be….bankers developers and others do not dictate the direction like a moving locomotive. I was living in FL for 10 years. came back to Chgo ,,
      ,and shopped one day at the Jewel near Ashland and Wellington. Behind that Jewel is one of the largest real estate decimations of a neighborhood that I have ever seen. Not one older home left. How did that happen? T

  • I have observed that the negativity on certain blogs, even if accepted as entirely true, is a very limited focus. We have three local bloggers in RP whose hobby is daily updates on their fears about Rogers Park. A little weird, perhaps, but no more so than trainspotting hobbyists.

    It is a classic case of needing more speech, rather than suppressing the unpleasant speech. Yo Chicago has its take; RogersPark.Com has another, but there’s a lot of room for more. I would love to see Connie Abels do a home improvement blog for that decrepit shithole she keeps at 7015 N Sheridan.

    The answer is not attacking the bloggers. They/We thrive on that. The answer is promoting your own vision. Are these real estate agents of whom you write sufficiently invested in the neighborhood to write a blog about it? So far, they haven’t appeared to be.

  • Well put Thomas. I agree that the more information the better.

    Why are the realtors so afraid of buyers getting a peak behind the curtain of RP and other neighborhoods. If they really believe that the properties they represent, and the RP neighborhood by extension, deserve the higher prices then they should be able to provide counterarguments to the RP bloggers negative viewpoints. If they can’t, well then the decreased prices are justified.

  • J,

    Why are some of the Rogers Park bloggers so afraid of any positive take on their community, or any questioning of their obsessively noir approach to their community?

    Take a look, for example, at Craig Gernhardt’s unhinged rant in response to my post here. I won’t address it in detail, only to point out that the information he criticises me for failing to supply is readily available to any home buyer who cares about it. Better info than Gernhardt provides. A 911 cal, for example, does not always equate to a crime.

  • marcum 9 years

    I’ve only lived in RP about 2 months but have been visiting the hood regularly over a year. Good experiences and bad, but the overall tone of the neighborhood appears to be slipping into more negative territory. A walk through the park along the lake between Estes and Pratt Sunday evening around 6pm was not a nice experience. Never seen so much public drunkenness and people passed out on the sidewalk in plain daylight. Even the quieter streets like Estes, Lunt and Greenview farther west of Sheridan seemed infected. Perhaps the heat and the end of a long holiday weekend might be contributing factor.

  • Joe,

    I agree that they are focusing on the negative. But I will bet you that when those realtors that are grumbling show a place they only focus on the positive, right? Turning it around, why are they so afraid of any negative take on RP?

    I won’t get into the personal feud that seems to be brewing between you and Craig, it isn’t the point of this whole discussion. I just think it is funny that the realtors are mad someone has the gall to only highlight the negatives in a neighborhood when they do the same thing with focusing solely on positives.

    Realtors are trying to charge a premium in places like RP and Uptown for appreciation potential. They rely on people believing that the likelihood of improvement is great, with little risk that the appreciation won’t pan out. What is happening is more info is available and the premium they can charge for that appreciation potential is dropping because people realize things are as rosy as the realtors would have you believe. Based on experiences looking at places in Uptown I think it is ridiculous that realtors are complaining about unfair or biased info. When we looked at a place in Uptown the realtor went on and on about all the great things that were coming to the neighboring blocks. We didn’t buy the place, and if you look around the area 4 years later almost none of those things panned out. Sure they might come at some point, but it sure wasn’t fair and unbiased info the realtor was shoveling. I guess that is why I think the complaints from the realtors are disingenuous and sound more like whining.

  • UptownR 9 years

    What about a middle ground? You know, a happy medium for people who dislike blowhards like Craig and Thomas Westgard, but who also detest realtors? 🙂

  • Joe Zekas –

    Thinking about this a little more gives me maybe a little more insight into your perspective. You are over here at Yo Chicago, doing your part to present the neighborhood as you believe it ought to be presented (and I’m definitely with you on the complaint about excessive negativity). So it’s frustrating to be in the position of feeling that your message isn’t getting through well enough.

    You feel that way, and so do I. Strangely, the RP HateCrew feels that way too – they think their message of fear and anger isn’t taken seriously enough. In one sense, they approach that frustration in a very healthy and productive way. They seek out like-minded people and build alliances. They commit to daily publication. They scour the neighborhood for details that represent the truth as they see it. As much as I disagree with their message, their effort to promote their beliefs demonstrates careful planning and hard work. They get what they pay for.

    The pro-RP crew is far more complacent, and despite the presence of blogs that aren’t part of the nastiness cartel of Morse Hellhole / Bench / Howardwatchers / News-Star, I see a lot less thought and a lot less hard work to promote a more balanced or upbeat view of the neighborhood. It’s frustrating to be the one guy doing the work, as you are. But people who like Rogers Park are getting what we pay for in the blogosphere right now – not much. RP has decided, so far, to leave RP’s internet reputation to the ravening wolves.

    I guess the upshot is that I think the outlet for this frustration is to see why the HateCrew is so successful – they work really hard at what they want. People more of your mindset, or mine, should work at least equally hard to gather support to spread our views. Maybe you could lean on some of your fellow realtors to start blogging about Rogers Park and why they like it.

    Again, YOU are clearly doing your part. We just need more sane people to weigh in with blogs about Rogers Park that show a balanced view. Maybe you and I should do occasional cross-posts or something. I’m sure you don’t always agree with me – even my closest friends get on me sometimes – but we could just work on accentuating the positive whenever we do find a point of agreement.

    I have some other ideas – send me an email on my blog and we could maybe sit down for coffee some time.

  • UptownR 9 years

    I don’t think Yo Chicago has been particularly pro-Rogers Park. It’s pro-development, but not pro-Rogers Park. If anything, Joe Z. et al seem pretty cautious when talking about Rogers Park and Uptown.

  • Let’s see if we can get back to the original question: does Rogers Park deserve its bloggers? Are they, collectively, painting a fair picture of the neighborhood? Are their negatives necessary to get a balanced picture or so overblown that they distort the reality of Rogers Park?

    Whatever you might think of the Realtors positive spin, at least they avoid the viciousness and personal attacks that the RP bloggers seem to thrive on. And, they have an interest in improving their neighborhood and a willingness to work at it – something that seems to be sorely lacking on the part of the crime-wallowers.

    Many of those Realtors are Rogers Parkers of far longer tenure than the RP bloggers who want to demonize them rather than extend them the courtesy they’re due as neighbors.

  • Your question: Does Rogers Park deserve its bloggers?

    To get real answers to this, you have to define what you mean by “deserve.” The phrasing of the question is ambiguous and a bit judgmental. You’re not getting answers because you aren’t posing an answerable, evenhanded question.

    If the question is really, “Is Rogers Park really as bad as Craig Gernhardt paints it out to be?” then the answer is clearly “No.” If the question is “Are the existing Rogers Park bloggers getting attention proportional to the work they expend?” then the answer is clearly “Yes.” So I feel like I answered your question as well as anyone could.

    My question to you is, since you clearly have an opinion about the situation, what do you think ought to be done about it? I mean, in a constructive way that promotes a realistic view.

  • Thomas Westgard,

    I thought I’d taken the ambiguity out of the question with the questions that followed it. And I repeat that I’m addressing Rogers Park blogs as a group, not talking about any one of them in particular.

    My opinion? Rogers Park is a lot better place to live than you’d learn from reading all of the Rogers Park blogs. It has some genuine problems, as many city neighborhoods do. It’s also a lot of sub-neighborhoods, some of which are very attractive places to live and share almost none of the negatives of other parts of Rogers Park.

    What can be done about the situation? For starters, let’s all stop pretending that the most negative of the RP blogs have any legitimacy. Anyone who wants crime reports can get them from far more objective sources. The worst of the RP blogs are simply places where haters and cranks cluster to feed off each other: there’s nothing to be learned about Rogers Park by reading them.

    I think many people are reluctant to call these people out because they turn so mindlessly vicious so easily. It doesn’t seem possible to have a rational discussion with them about any aspect of Rogers Park.

  • Well put, Joe!

  • rogers person 9 years

    “I think many people are reluctant to call these people out because they turn so mindlessly vicious so easily”

    That’s exactly it. It’s not that the worst of the RP bloggers are so negative — it’s that they lie and engage in personal attacks way out of proportion to any perceived offense against them. They steal photos from other sites, publish personal information about their “victims,” go through the alderman’s frickin’ garbage, for god’s sake! And to fight back or even try to correct them just makes it worse. They portray themselves as journalists (and, lately, as persecuted journalists getting oppressed by cops) but have absolutely no ethics or scruples about how they get their information or whether or not it’s even correct.

    And they can’t even spell.

    I’m a lot less inclined to get involved in neighborhood stuff like the garden group because I just don’t want to deal with those guys — or worse, inadvertently piss them off and wake up to find doctored photos of me and creepy insinuations about my genitalia all over their blogs (they actually did this to a local artist last summer for no apparent reason).

    (For the record, I no longer read those blogs, but the headlines show up on Outside.in every day.)

  • Food4thought 9 years

    I want to make a few points here. I know that people say critisize Craig for having blog that certainly doesn’t paint Rogers Park out to be the safest or most desirable place to live. But the fact of the matter is Craig probably cares a lot about Rogers Park; he just expresses it in a way that you or I wouldn’t.

    In my opinion Rogers Park is full of polar oposites. There are home/condo owners who see the beuty of Rogers Park and realize there isn’t a place in the city where you can be 5 blocks from the Metra, 5 blocks from the Red Line (CTA), and 5 blocks from one of Chicago’s largest beaches (Loyola Beach). But, there are also the low-income renters in Rogers Park that cause trouble and don’t have a vested stake in the community.

  • I think you can learn all you need to know about where at least one of these guys is coming from by reading this post. Summary: blogger sees what he thinks is children in danger. He observes children in danger, by his own report, for 5 hours, but does nothing to address the situation. Good video and blog fodder, those endangered children.

    Where I come from, that’s called depraved indifference and the complete lack of a moral compass. Does Rogers Park deserve this blogger? I don’t think any community does.

    What was the old saw about caring about humanity but not about any one human?

  • I think it’s interesting that foodforthought thinks that the home/condo owners appreciate rogers park & the renters are the problem. I know numerous renters who have lived here longer and are far more vested in the area than many of the owners who will be out of here as soon as their kids are school age or they can afford a bigger place.

  • Laura Louzader 9 years

    I tire of the BadRenter/GoodOwner dichotomy. I’m a Roger Park renter in a fine old rental, that commands a great view of a couple of large single-family homes whose owners clearly need to consider whether ownership is really suitable for them, for their houses look like hell.

    I’d rather be a solvent renter in a fine, well-kept building than an owner on the brink of NOD in one of the badly rehabbed condos in this city. I’d also rather have responsible renters in well-run buildings than homeowners who don’t or can’t take care of their properties. We have too many ratty single-family homes in Rogers Park occupied by “owners” who are clearly in way over their heads.

    Now that the U.S. has become REO Nation, and we can now see where the binge of insane borrowing has taken us, home “ownership” predicated on borrowing over your head is losing it’s doubtful prestige.

  • Don’t worry, Laura Lousader, nobody in that crowd hates you. “Renters” is code for working-class blacks. Note that the person saying it is doing so anonymously.

  • Roy Hobbs 9 years

    Is Westgard black or working-class? Didn’t think so…

  • UptownR 9 years

    It’s not the working blacks that people complain about in Rogers Park…

  • Laura Louzader 9 years

    Why IS the term “working class” used as a pejorative?

    What is wrong with having a blue-collar job? These people are one of the most stable and well-behaved segments of the population, and their neighborhoods are the cleanest and safest on Planet Earth.

    The worst thing you can say about both the white and black working classes is that they are stodgy and awfully hung up on being Respectable, almost to a fault.

    All in all,they are a great bunch of people who do the jobs that are necessary, and often demanding, difficult, dirty, and dangerous, that the rest of us don’t want anything to do with

    No, I don’t think it’s the “working class blacks” that are Rogers Park’s problem.

    Actually, it’s certain members of our local Entrepreneurial Class that give us the most problem, mainly our local business types who do their purveying by the el stations and in alleys and in badly managed apartment buildings.

    Oh, yeah, and the NON-working lowlifes of various ethnic origins, who can be spotted sleeping it off in front of Soo Liquors, or in Loyola Park.

  • I am one of the working class renters that you guys speak of in a pretty condescending fashion. If the bloggers could keep my rent down I would be grateful but I don’t see any evidence of that. Furthermore if the exalted owners truly appreciate Rogers Park and want to live here then why are they so concerned about the value of their property? I mean it only matters if you want sell right? Are these homes or just temporary investments? let’s be a little honest.

  • Roy Hobbs 9 years

    Please. I guess dropping a couple of hundred thousand dollars on a home in RP means that I don’t “appreciate” it enough. Of course I said isn’t concerned with propery value, he/she doesn’t own any property. Ask the person who owns your rental what they think.

  • UptownR 9 years

    There’s a great book by a University of Chicago sociologist about working class African Americans called “Slim’s Table”. It points out how the “working poor” African Americans are often overlooked in the popular conception of black inner city life. It examines this under-appreciated group, and notes that they have similar values to working class whites.

  • Megan 9 years

    The simple answer is: no, Rogers Park does not deserve its bloggers. It is a multi-faceted neighborhood with more to tell than is presented on those hate-filled blogs. If Craig and others spent 1/10 of the energy they do hate-mongering on something actually productive, Rogers Park would be an even better place. I live it and see it every day.

  • Jocelyn 9 years

    I disagree with your characterization of anyone who reads the blogs. I know plenty of regular people and neighbors that read them to keep up with what is going on. Yes, they are slanted and I believe they have an influence and that is why people get so upset about them I suppose.

    As far as asking if we deserve the blogs, I really don’t know the answer. They exist and don’t seem to be going anywhere. In a way I guess we do deserve them because this neighborhood has been allowed to languish for so long in some ways.

    The fact is that Morse Avenue is getting better with more businesses and foot trafic, but those derelicts & dealers just keep hanging on. After a while, it gets really annoying. It’s a real downer and that is what some of the blogs reflect.

    All commuinities have issues. In Lakeview you have drunken idiots on the weekends, horrific parking and traffic issues for example. You have to pick your poison. In RP, we have the lake and a residential place to live, but we have some drug dealers and derelicts wandering around to put up with.

  • Chris 9 years

    It is really funny that Thomas Westgard derides bloggers like Tom Mannis and Craig Gernhardt. The three of them were once thick as thieves. During the pathetic farce that was the last 49th Ward Aldermanic election Westgard, who was involved in one of the campaigns, went running to Craig Gernhardt to get some dirt on a rival candidate’s daughter publicized. Mannis volunteered for the same campaign as Westgard and he and Westgard worked together producing videos.

    The contradiction between Westgard’s current words and past actions is a great example of how ridiculous these blogs are. The crazies that once vied for their turn to rant on talk radio now turn to the internet. The Rogers Park blogs are an exploding septic tank. Fortunately the neighborhood is better than its blogs.

  • Justa Thought 9 years

    To reply to the original question of ‘does RP deserve the bloggers’:
    Altho sometimes overly negative & overly obsessed with Joe Moore, I think the bloggers do a great job! In my youth, we did not have bloggers; rather we had bushas looking out windows & keeping an eye out for trouble. Their vigilance kept the neighborhood on its toes. This, I believe, is what the bloggers do.
    And also, if these bloggers did broadcast what a treasure we have here, we would turn into over-crowded, over-yuppied LP. Do we want THAT?

  • Thomas Westgard is not authorized to practice law in Illinois, according to the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC), an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court. He has not been authorized since the end of 2008. To confirm this yourself, search for “Westgard Thomas” at the Illinois ARDC website at http://www.iardc.org/lawyersearch.asp
    You can see more information here:
    http://rogersparkbench.blogspot.com/2009/04/attorney-westgard-not-authorized-to.html

  • I find it interesting that both Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune cited Gernhardt’s blog and mine as two of Chicago’s best, yet “Chris” thinks they are “are an exploding septic tank.” Both Gernhardt’s blog and mine are frequently linked to by newspapers and magazines as source material. While it’s true that Westgard and I both worked on the Ginderske 2007 campaign, the difference is that I managed to pull the wool off of my eyes and see Ginderske for what he is, whereas Westgard continues to push the misleading agenda of the Ginderske Cult.