Tag Archives: CHA

Transformation Plan From Outer Space

The Tribune summarizes its examination on Sunday of the CHA’s vaunted Plan for Transformation thusly: “Thousands of families displaced. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent. Years behind schedule. What went wrong with Chicago’s grand experiment.”

To which I can only say: Duh.

The Tribune used nearly 4,300 words to detail what many of us have been arguing for years – that the critics were right from the beginning, that the Plan for Transformation is a failure, and that it was always about slum clearance, PR, and developers, not about housing policy or the city’s neediest residents.

That’s not to say the Trib’s 4,300 words are wasted; in fact, it’s a fine story. It’s just that the paper is a little late proclaiming one of the biggest feathers in the mayor’s cap a grand experiment gone wrong. Let’s take a closer look.

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Month in Review

I’ll be on Eight Forty Eight’s Month in Review panel this morning at 9 a.m. on WBEZ-FM (91.5) discussing the motherlode of a newsy April gone by. Here are my picks in the various categories we are likely to discuss.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STORY: Ali Ata! The roadmap to the governor just became a lot clearer. Second: The absolute insistence – with the backing of the Daley Administration – of the Chicago Children’s Museum in moving forward with its plans to relocate in Grant Park despite tremendous public opposition.

LOSER OF THE MONTH: Rod Blagojevich.

WINNER OF THE MONTH: Jim Hendry. Even though the mega-millions he gave to Alfonso Soriano looks increasingly idiotic, Kosuke Fukudome has been even better than advertised, Reed Johnson is a steal, and Lou Piniella is the man.

WINNER & LOSER: The Chicago Children’s Museum. A loser because everybody hates them now, but a winner because the mayor always gets what he wants.

UNDER-REPORTED: The CHA opening its voucher list up again and them being swamped with applications. If examined closely, this is further evidence that the Plan for Transformation is more about transforming valuable real estate than providing adequate housing for the poor.

OVER-REPORTED: Chicago public schools violence. Not to be insensitive, but this has been framed as somehow the fault of Chicago public schools. If I understand it, these killings are not occurring on public school property; it’s not CPS’s fault. It’s mostly gang-related, and I’m not sure if the violence – intolerable as it is – represents a spike over previous years. This is a story about poverty, socioeconomics and policing, not schools. That part of the story should be reported with even more urgency, but the school frame is overblown.

WATCH NEXT MONTH: The Chicago Children’s Museum battle will be back at full volume, but also watch the Latin School lawsuit; these are both about private use of public park land, though different in scope and circumstance. Also, Obama is obvious, but what about his political mentor Emil Jones? Will his one-man gridlock finally cave as the governor’s influence vanishes beyond the horizon?

COWARDLY ACT: The lawyers who kept their client privilege may have thought they were being courageous but they were being cowardly when they consigned Alton Logan to prison for a crime he did not commit. While we can all appreciate their dilemma, they could have found a creative way out of it, even if it meant losing their law licenses. A man’s life ought to come first.