What's Next for Local News?
Re "Chicago Needs a New News Model" by Michael Miner, December 11
"Politicians, bureaucrats, academics, intellectuals, activists, nongovernmental organizations—all require a zone where decisions are reported and ideas exchanged."
This seems to be the real crux of this idea as a new model. For that zone to be a successful public marketplace for ideas there needs to be a certain ubiquitousness to it—a certain scale. I just don't know if it can really achieve that necessary scale operating under this funding model.
The other problem too is Web-based publishing. I can't speak for Canada, but this remains a country where only [80 percent] of the population has Internet access at home—large swaths of the poor and/or rural community go without. Without those readers able to even passively participate, there is the question of how that exclusion will affect coverage and a news outlet's primary mission of informing the public.
Every few weeks I go back and check on Crosscut, sure that this time there will be something more than links to the Seattle PI or Times best stories of the week, filler links to national stories, and reporting on whatever everyone else is writing about too.
These sites may make for a pretty model for those in the "print is dead" camp, but are pretty useless for those of us looking for information about our communities.
Two Faces of 46th Ward Politics
Re "The Right Fight: Alderman Shiller says Uptown residents are suing to dismantle the Wilson Yard TIF for the wrong reasons. But so what?" by Ben Joravsky, December 11
I must object to the following:
"As Shiller observes, some of the plan's opponents couldn't care less about TIF abuse. Had Shiller and Daley cooked up a scheme to spend $60 million on, say, upscale condos and a Lord & Taylor, they'd be jumping for joy."
What Wilson Yard opponents said that?! I have an ear to my community and feel I speak for the majority of the lawsuit supporters when I say this is not how we think. We do not require high-end condos. This is not simply about bringing big-name retailers to Broadway or developing a high-profile retail market in Uptown (which is miles away if ever even appropriate in our neighborhood). This is about proper urban planning, not short-sighted developments that could only be financed by 1/3 tax funding.
Most residents value the diversity of Uptown; it is has given Uptown an identity dichotomous from its neighboring communities.
This lawsuit is proof that the people of Uptown will no longer smolder in frustration as opposing agendas unravel from behind a wall of political secrecy. Residents are sick of the two-faced platform of 46th Ward politics.
"Had Shiller and Daley cooked up a scheme to spend $60 million on, say, upscale condos and a Lord & Taylor, they'd be jumping for joy. If Shiller's using the wrong tool to do the right thing, the residents are fighting the right battle for the wrong reasons."
Ben, you hit the nail on the head with that one. You are not advocating the class warfare, the folks from Fix Wilson Yard already have that covered.
There is a huge need for affordable housing in Uptown as many people have been pushed out of the neighborhood already and that trend is continuing. I too am very critical of TIF and wish to see it reformed or completely gotten rid of. I appreciate your work, Ben, in that regard. The Fix Wilson Yard people, however, are not legitimate TIF reformers, they are primarily concerned about reducing the number of low-income people in their neighborhood.
They are not using the Wilson Yard issue to fight TIFs, they are using the TIF issue to oppose the Wilson Yard and the creation of affordable housing. So, Ben, maybe they are using the right tool (opposition to TIFs) in the wrong fight (opposition to affordable housing).