Will today be the final hurdle for 100 affordable housing units in Logan Square? Or do the opponents have other plans?

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Bruce Rauner, Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, and then-IPI attorney and current TOD plan opponent Jacob Huebert, celebrating the anti-union Janus decision on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Image: Chicago Sun-Times

I can’t make it to Chicago city hall this morning for the meeting of the zoning committee of the city council.

The zoning committee is scheduled to consider the Emmett Street affordable housing project, the transit oriented development of 100 affordable housing units by the Logan Square Blue Line station.

If you follow this blog then you know I have been a vocal and active supporter of this project. 

On the basis of standard operating council procedures, with the backing of 35th ward alderman Carlos Rosa and the thoroughly transparent community process, the final okay by the zoning committee ought to be a slam dunk.

According to what I have heard, the non-profit Bickerdike redevelopment corporation should be breaking ground in 2020 with occupancy in 2021.

But I have also heard that now the opponents of the project are planning a last ditch stand and may go to court to stop affordable housing in the gentrifying Logan Square.

The appear to have powerful backing by those whose agendas go way beyond Emmett Street.

Streetsblog’s John Greenfield wrote about them last April.

(Jacob) Huebert is currently a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute, a conservative and libertarian think tank based in Phoenix, named after the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. The Republican senator famously lost the 1964 presidential election to Lyndon B. Johnson in a landslide, four months after Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. He lost the electoral vote in all states except Arizona and the Deep South.

Huebert is also the author of the book Libertarianism Today, and he and his writings have appeared in many national news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and, of course, Fox News.

Previously Huebert worked as director of litigation at the Liberty Justice Center, the “free-market public-interest litigation center” of the right-wing Illinois Policy Institute, which was closely aligned with former Republican Illinois governor Bruce Rauner during his first few years in office, although that relationship eventually deteriorated. Huebert’s successfully litigation of the Janus v. AFSCME anti-union case is his biggest claim to fame.

There are other local opponents of affordable housing for working people in Logan Square, including Mark Fishman. Fishman owns many market priced rental units in the neighborhood.

But there are bigger fish here with bigger agendas.

It is unlikely that at this point Emmett Street can be stopped. Yet every additional hurdle makes future affordable developments more difficult.

6 thoughts on “Will today be the final hurdle for 100 affordable housing units in Logan Square? Or do the opponents have other plans?

  1. “Affordable” is a capitalist term – it means allocating resources (housing, for example) according to the free market.  What you advocate is welfare: taking property from those who earn it and redistributing it to those you deem “worthy” of receiving your largesse. Just how do you propose to decide who, exactly, gets the benefit of your corrupt vision?

    1. Me: How is “affordable” a capitalist term? Instead capitalism take the value created by the labor of others and distribute it among those whose power deems them worthy. The Emmett Street affordable housing project criteria are quite transparent and explicit and are included in the agreement presently before the zoning committee.

  2. Hi Fred! Thank you for your well informed updates re this affordable housing effort (and teacher pensions and teacher unions). Do you have an update on the recent zoning meeting? Am I recalling accurately that affordable housing was an important issue for our former Mayor Harold Washington? Unless I am mistaken, I have not heard more recent mayors champion the affordable housing cause. Keeping affordable housing in the rear view mirror seemed/was more their speed, as if a further invitation out of town to so many African American families leaving Chicago., a Great Exodus, as it were. Best, Barbara

    Retired CPS Teacher, Student Teacher College Supervisor, adj prof

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone Get Outlook for Android ________________________________

  3. This seems as utopian as the notion that teachers’ and Teamsters’ pensions will be paid in full. But why not 1000 units or a new Cabrini Green? Not to mention free college, free water and Medicare for all. They all seem aspirational and signal immense virtue. Not unlike CO2 emissions goals which have never been met.

    But if Trump proposed it, would you believe it?

    I understand sermons calling for improvements in our cities. Homelessness and housing would probably head my list also. No doubt there are consultants and bond lawyers and rating companies who’d like to promote this idea and take their fees off the top, before the cyclone fence is built and the first watchman hired to protect the first lumber delivery.

    Is the task force working pro bono?

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