Its only tardy me. I just wanted to tell you that your reporting of the store closings is probably the most important thing that you can report on. That coupled with the massive foreclosures and bank owned properties is a significant barometer of the health of our community. More on bank owned property later. Neighborhoods have live cycles that mirror our own life cycles and the life cycle of our country.
Young couples get married, move to a neighborhood, have kids, the kids grow up and go to college, and then move away. All this time the young couples grow older and as they grow older, their property begins to show its age along with them. As they age and they have less strength and/or money to maintain their properties, the neighborhood also deteriorates. Unless, and this is what makes Bucktown such a great place to live, unless a new generation of young couples move into the neighborhood and regenerates it with their youth, their kids, dogs, etc. This is the neighborhood cycle that drives any neighborhood; this is what makes Bucktown a great place to live and work.
Now look at the classic case of Detroit. What happened in Detroit is quite simply that the community lost is economic base and the younger generation moved elsewhere to find work, homes and their future. They left behind a decaying, aging community that eventually resulted in empty homes and businesses as the residents passed on. This is happening in Chicago right now and in America it is widespread. The politicians moved our jobs overseas and America lost its manufacturing base. We were told that there are jobs in the service industry, and this is partly true, but it does not replace a strong fiber of society; the manufacturing base; the producer of goods.
In our neighborhoods we are told that small business is the key to future growth; small businesses will make up for this loss of an economic base. Yes, small businesses are vital to a neighborhood, but they will never provide the tax base of a strong manufacturing base. That said, your monitoring of small businesses, the only local economy we have, is most important.
Coupled with your monitoring of the store closings, I am monitoring the massive loss of homes in our neighborhoods; homes that are a direct measure of the health of the community. The homes that the young couples, many of our friends, bought and lived in are being sold from under them as a result of the actions Politicians, banks, Wall Street brokers, real estate brokers, the government; a wide assortment of entities all working independently together to get rich quick.
It started years ago when speculators came up with “Hostile Takeovers” of companies. The cash rich companies, ironically successful companies that had prudently managed their businesses, who provided service and products to America, were the targets of these takeovers; they were called Hostile Takeovers because outsiders bought large amounts of stock, took over the Board of Directors, and then dismantled the company by selling off all its assets and resources. Not unlike what is happening in Chicago Government today, and all over America; the selling of public resources and assets; the sell-off of our public tax base to foreign companies.
Then came companies like Enron; companies that were run by outright thieves who looted their customers and the companies that served them. Then came more thieves in the form of real estate brokers who, as a result of our Government giving free loans for homeowners, even if they did not work, induced the very poor to buy houses. Everyone wants a home; we cannot blame the home buyer who was lured into signing a document that was loaded with fees and commissions to line the pockets of the brokers and lenders who serviced those wobbly loans.
Then they sent our jobs overseas, destroying many livelihoods and industries. It is good for America we were told. Just as the politicians are telling us that selling our public assets like the parking meters or the Skyway was good for Chicago. What could go wrong?
The latest straw is to make Corporations equal to a person as far as rights go. This was done so that foreign companies could finance American politicians. What could go wrong? There is one bright light on the horizon, however. Have you seen that Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth, which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans? I am sure the money lords and Politicians will not meddle with that. What could go wrong?
We are seeing the end result with the loss of our pensions, the loss of our livelihoods, the slow reduction of Bucktown; the slow decay of the quality of life in Bucktown. Your monitoring of the store closings is very important. Keep it up as it is a barometer of our neighborhood health.