Today’s e-mail newsletter from 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno leads with this scattershot rant:
Reading this article in Chicago Magazine yesterday made me angry.
At the last City Council meeting we passed the Vacant Buildings Ordinance, which Alderman Dowell sponsored. This Ordinance has a simple purpose, as the article says, it’s “designed to get mortgage lenders with a financial stake in vacant foreclosed properties to help keep them from falling into disrepair.”
Everyone knows that vacant properties are a magnet for crime; a blight, which has a detrimental effect on all the other buildings around it.
The 1st Ward has around 60 of these buildings. Some of these buildings are secure and maintained, but some are not. My staff and I work with the police and the relevant City Department to secure or, in extreme cases, demolish these “problem” buildings.
City-wide our vacant building problem is nowhere near as bad as many south and west-side communities. Regardless, I don’t want even one vacant “problem” building in our community.
A representative of Moody’s Investment Service, argued in this article that banks may now lend less because they have to spend money on maintaining vacant properties. This is outrageous.
This argument belies a larger problem with the dialogue happening nationwide about where we’re going as a country. The recent debt ceiling fiasco was absolutely shameful. Austerity can work, but the burden and the pain must be shared and, once again, it wasn’t.
Personally, I don’t think we should even be talking about deficit reduction during such a tepid economic recovery. I’m no populist. I like to think of myself as a realist, but the way the super-wealthy seem to have hijacked our country in recent years is deplorable.
As a municipal legislator, I’m going to continue to support and introduce laws to hold banks accountable. If they don’t want to be a good neighborhood partner; tough. We’ll pass laws that force them to be responsible.
Here’s a tip: if you want to enrage your Aldermanic “good neighborhood partner,” just raise a legitimate concern.