By on August 13, 2013

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FMG Holdings, which operates a number of car dealerships in western Michigan under the name of Fox Motors, had planned on spending $57 million turning an abandoned industrial site on Chicago’s North Side into a large Ford store but it has now given Chicago politicians an Oct. 1st deadline to either approve or deny their zoning application after the issue has gotten mired in local politics and injected with the issue of race.

According to Automotive News, FMG had approached Alederman Scott Waguespack about his support of their plan to develop a 102,000 square foot Ford dealership in his ward, Chicago’s 32nd. The store would replace a defunct dealership also in Chicago, and it would employ about 200 people.

Waguespack solicited feedback from constituents, who approved, so he decided to support FMG, though he turned down their request for a tax-increment financing subsidy. The Chicago Plan Commission also approved the zoning request, but then the plan stalled after other aldermen representing predominantly Hispanic wards got involved, asking what Ford has done to give franchises to Hispanics.

One of the aldermen, Danny Solis, chairman of the City Council’s Latino Caucus, also chairs the City Council Committee on Zoning, which has tabled Fox’s request twice. Solis gives Ford’s lack of any Hispanic owned dealerships in the Chicago area as his reason. ”We want some form of commitment from Ford,” Solis says. “Ford should be sensitive to giving a fair shake to the Hispanic community.”

While Ford may not have any stores in Chicagoland owned by Latinos, one particular Latino, Jose Diaz, whose family used to own a Miami, Florida Chrysler dealership and who is said to maintain a residence in Chicago, seems to be the person that Solis has in mind, as it is Diaz’s name that Solis has suggested to Ford. Diaz has been promoting his own plan to open up a dealership in a different location than in the 32nd ward. He’s also given campaign contributions to Latino aldermen, inlcuding $6,800 to Solis’  25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization. Solis denies a connection between those contributions and his inaction on Fox’s zoning request.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s office said that the request will come up for a committee vote on Sept. 4 and a full city council vote later in September.

Because of the delay, Fox says that it had to extend an option to purchase that would have expired in early August but a spokeswoman said that it would be the last extension the company would seek and that if a decision wasn’t rendered before October, they would walk away. Still, the company knows it has to be diplomatic.

“From our experience, when you go through zoning, it has to do with whether you’re complying with the law,” Monica Sekulich, general counsel at Fox Motors, told the Automotive News. ”We’re frustrated by the [Chicago] process. But we’re optimists. … We are excited about doing this deal.”

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72 Comments on “$57 Million Chicago Ford Dealership Delayed As Aldermen Play Politics...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I’m guessing any ward that needs to throw the race card would be a silly place to drop a dealership, especially a large one, no?

    I know what “abandoned industrial site” in a city that size means.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Giving a dealership to a Mr. Diaz because he’s Hispanic would be a racist move.

    Fox should have walked, not waited until October 1.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Race cars. Z-z-zing.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This isn’t really the way it looks. It’s one Hispanic Alderman who is doing this, but it’s Ford who turned down Diaz citing there where no available dealerships in that area because Fox already had a dealership there and thus the “rights” to a new one.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Let the arm twisting begin. Oh, I’m sorry sir, you are hispanic so you deserve a dealership. In Cherry Hill NJ we had an “experiment” By GM and the local Buick dealership became a minority dealership. This was several decades ago and it didnt end well.Everyone quailified, warranty fraud was taken to new levels, more than once a gun was pulled in the service area. If you want a dealership work for it. I want an NFL team but I dont have the money for it. I certainly dont expext Roger Goodell to give me one just because I have black skin.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      You are so totally right! No one has ever pulled out a gun in a white owned business. Take banks, for example. They are obviously minority owned because they experience armed robberies all the time! People who are different in some way are dangerous!! Run!! Do something!! Ahhhhh!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t believe he stated all dealers owned by non white races are dangerous, that’s facts you created.

        The point is anyone with iniative can do whatever they desire, unconsequentially giving a dealership to someone whose only qualification is their race is destined to fail. The race of the person with the intelligence to start a dealership does not matter.

        • 0 avatar
          Silvy_nonsense

          No Hummer, the point is that seabrjim made a really, really poor argument. He listed outcomes like “warranty fraud” and “guns being pulled” that, based on what he wrote, were the direct result of minority ownership. He offered only weak anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to support his bogus cause and effect argument and failed to consider any other possible causes for the problems, assuming those problems ever even occurred.

          On a related note, I’m sure seabrjim is a big boy and he doesn’t need you to defend him and reinterpret his arguments.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            With you, Silvy. And anyone who thinks race has not been a powerful organizing principle of business, including closely guarded labor-niches, simply doesn’t know their history.

            Now the problem is, the Latino community is one thing, and Mr. Diaz is one person. So I won’t draw conclusions about a situation I don’t know intimately. But statements the like of GSlippy above are completely unwarranted, in my humble opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            big al

            I think the operative word here is “Chicago”.

          • 0 avatar
            old5.0

            You’re correct, what seabrjim did was offer an anecdotal story based on a past experience. What you did was cherrypick one detail and offer up a ridiculous attempt at sarcasm while simultaneously managing to accuse anyone with a differing opinion of simple tribalism (if not outright racism). If you had simply banged your faux-outraged fists on the keyboard three or four times and posted the results it would have been a more productive use of your time, not to mention more interesting to read.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        @Silly_nonsense – that arguably is the dumbest analogy I’ve ever beard on this forum.

    • 0 avatar

      The last time I looked, no race, ethnicity, religion, political party, gender or any other similarly identifiable group has a monopoly on good or evil.

      The domestic automakers all began minority dealership programs in the late 1960s. Now I happen to not be in favor of set asides, quotas and affirmative action, but the simple truth is that a number of black and hispanic dealers have thrived and there are plenty of disreputable car stores owned by white folks.

      It’s hard though, to think about Mel Farr, your superstar dealer, without the word “gonif” going through my head. He and Jesse Jackson were principals in a company that turned off your car by remote control if you failed to make your car payment.

      The sad truth is that many of the worst exploitations of ethnic or religious groups are by members of that same group. For example, it was often Jewish business owners who forced their Jewish employees to work on the Sabbath. Because of anti-semitism, they had a hard time getting hired by non-Jews. That gave less than ethical Jews an opportunity to exploit their coreligionists.

      Similar situations were faced by Irish and Italians. Gangsters always like to portray themselves as helping their community.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        I understand your point in the first two paragraphs.

        However, I don’t understand why you’re criticizing someone for using technology as part of the collections process in the third paragraph. You say you’re not in favor of “set asides, quotas and affirmative action” but you criticize a business person for not giving a break to people who don’t make contractually agreed to car payments? (I assume that’s your argument in that paragraph, anyway.) That doesn’t make sense. If you’re not in favor of affirmative action, then shouldn’t you be applauding a businessman for using a technology that treats all lenders who don’t pay the same? No payment, no car use seems fair to me. How is that bad? I’m not able to understand your logic. Also, what does that have to do with whitey complaining about minorities getting preferential treatment?

        • 0 avatar

          Property rights are property rights but nobody likes it when the furniture man repossesses the fridge. Jesse and Mel were acting like the furniture man and exploiting the working poor is still exploitation. There is a limit to my libertarianism.

          That Farr and Jackson have portrayed themselves as warriors for civil rights as they exploited working poor black folks bothers me more than turning off or repossessing a car whose note is due.

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            dont sign the note. if you cant afford a new car, fridge, or furniture then you buy used or do without.

    • 0 avatar
      mr.cranky

      seabrijim must think that all minorities engage in gunplay and defraud the government.

      You sir, are contributing absolutely nothing of value to this conversation.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    This is ridiculous. Ford has had a minority dealership program for a very long time. They have likely spent hundreds of millions helping fund loans, arranging partnerships, recruiting minorities, paying lawyers, losing sales, etc.

    The result is that they have a very diverse dealer community with plenty of black and woman owned dealerships…oh, nevermind.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Like I said, it’s one alderman who is trying to play the race card and it’s not working. It’s going to be finalized at the next meeting and life will go on.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        It could really become an issue though. I worked with a lot of dealerships in the minority program and none of them, even in Texas and California, were hispanic. My sample is obviously anecdotal, but I suspect the Alderman actually has a point. If you are going to play the quota game, why are hispanics not included?

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          You must not have paid attention to the George Zimmerman trial, and what the critics of Zimmerman were saying.

          Apparently Hispanic-Americans are now part of the privileged class, and therefore should have access to oodles of capital to own and operate a Ford franchise.

          Which is quite amazing, as during my time in college and after that point, I kept hearing of how Hispanics were “people of color” being oppressed by mean-spirited, greedy, racist white Americans.

          Times have changed – well, they’ve changed if a Hispanic-American Neighborhood Watch volunteer uses a firearm to successfully defend himself against an African-American youth.

          But then, as we’ve all seen, the definitions of who is privileged and what constitutes “racism” are actually quite fluid. It depends less on actual displays of racism than on the ethnicity or race of various actors in certain public dramas, and who stands to make more money by wailing about racism, real or imagined.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So these people are going after the potential dealer owners because of their race?

    How is this different then not being able to go into a restaurant because your black? Everything political in Chicago turns into a race issue. Some people can’t help but make things about race.

  • avatar
    gkbmini

    How cute, the DeVos family thinks their good name and clout in Western Michigan will spill over to Chicago. Doesn’t work that way. Giving a deadline to alderman will work really well. Target and Wal-Mart had a hell of time opening locations in Chicago. No one is going to bend over backwards for them without some graft. It’s the Chicago way.

    End of the day, it will be Waguespack decision on zoning. That is how the City Council works. Also, Rahmn and Ford will remind the alderman about a large auto plant in the 10th Ward.

    The DeVos family needs to learn patience if they want to play in Chicago.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “a large auto plant in the 10th Ward”

      I googled that. OMG, it’s barely out of The Region.

      I escaped Nam but I have a full treasure trove of civilian flashbacks from those environs.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Wait, so this developer bringing tens of millions of dollars in capital and adding 200 new jobs to the area is them being bent over backward for?

      If these political grandstanding douchebags won’t move at a reasonable pace, these developers can take their money to an area that matters. Not hard.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        They are bending over backward for this dealership. It’s one alderman, who incidentally has no connections to this ward, who is trying to play the race card. Ford has turned down the request for a dealership by Diaz cited it’s prior commitment to the dealer who’s ready to build. There is very little left that the alderman can do except try to make it a race issue in the public forum

    • 0 avatar
      DinosaurWine

      And this is why no one wants to do business in Chicago.

      And why would they? Businesses are filing out of there because they don’t want to deal with the corruption, and yet the silly city council still blames it on “republicans.”

      It’s too bad Chicago is missing out on jobs because a bunch of small time city councilmen all have their palms out.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Silvy hon, the point is they tried a feel good lesson. It wasnt a black business man who bought a franchise. Give him a dealership because he is qualified not based on skin color. And for your information, I was born and raised in Camden and I didnt set foot in there either. GM quietly ended the experiment in a few years. Just my perspective as a black American.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Unless there is about 30 to 40 million dollars of taxpayer (aka government) money being thrown the potential dealer’s way, for environmental remediation, etc., or unless the potential dealer expects to sell 7000 new cars annually from this location, the numbers are so absurd as to be…..well….absurd.

    These numbers make no sense whatsoever. There’s monkey business big time going on.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Too late to edit, but just an FYI from someone who is current on new dealership average development costs; most new dealerships selling the big manufacturers’ products (Toyota, GM, Ford, Honda, etc.) are 25,000 to 50,000 square feet, and total development costs hover around 5 to around 12 million, depending on brand, size & location.

      Again, this is for a NEW dealership, soil to completed buildings. Even a renovation of an older, already built-out dealership can run anywhere from 800,000 (Lincoln) for a “facelift” as mandated by ForMoCo, to as much as 2 or 3 million for an extensive & complete upgrade.

      I wanted to put that out there because this 54 million USD figure being tossed around has to either be some sort of typo, or there’s something revolutionary & awe-inspiring with respect to what FMG. Is proposing (even considering that this proposed dealership is on the large side as far as auto dealers go, in terms of raw square footage, at 100,000 square feet).

      And one more contextual frame of reference; any dealership, regardless of brand, that sells more than 1,000 new vehicles a year is a heavy hitter. 2,000+ new vehicles sold per year puts any single dealership in rare air territory.

      Something downs’t make ANY SENSE given the projected costs quoted unless this thing is going to be built on a reclaimed nuclear waste storage site that has to ne remediated.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’re right — the numbers don’t make much sense.

        However, my guess is that they’re exaggerating the cost and employment figures in an effort to oversell the project. That may be just for the sake of PR. It may have been part of an earlier ploy to secure a TIF (property tax reduction), which has already been denied.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Maybe the $57 million includes all the money they need to payoff Chicago politicians with in order to get the dealership built?

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    Here’s my .02 as a native Chicagoan ex-pat.

    1. The 32nd Ward, if I am correct, is losing a big manufacturer (Vienna Beef) right there at Elston and Fullerton. This is nowhere close to Cermak (22nd) and Michigan. The closest Ford dealer, Bert Weinman, shut down a few years ago.
    2. Five miles west of there Was a dealer row back in the 80′s/90′s but no more. In fact, the shopping mall was torn down and converted to an outdoor mall as it was a haven for crime and gangs.
    3. Not sure if he cares, but this is really close to the Mayor’s backyard (Rahm is a North sider, while the Daley’s were south siders)
    4. Chicago is a complete and utter pain regarding zoning. It took forever for the 1st Wal-Mart to be built in a really depressed part of the West Side and supposedly they are still having issues on building more. My former church has zoning issues, actually right by this area. Even the Beloved Cubs had zoning issues for their upcoming HALF BILLION renovation.

    I love my home and really miss my city, but this is par for the course in “City that (doesn’t) Work”

    • 0 avatar

      “I love my home and really miss my city, but this is par for the course in “City that (doesn’t) Work””

      Compared to Detroit it does. It seems to me that Chicago got the competent corrupt Democrats and Detroit got the incompetent ones.

      • 0 avatar
        gkbmini

        The incompetent corrupt politicians are set to prison by the Feds in Chicago.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        And you wonder why the rest of us make fun of you.

      • 0 avatar
        Carl Kolchak

        Ronnie,

        Not sure if I would go that far. My heart breaks for the people of Detroit. It will take some people with an iron will and balls of iron to fix it. Interested in being Mayor of Detroit?
        As for Chicago, their bond rating was just dropped 3 levels and the shut down approximately 50 schools. In my opinion, Chicago will be able to “paper over” it’s issues for at least the next 3.5 years because of Obama. Also, Emmanuel has deep Hollywood ties due to his brother, Ari. I was amazed to see how many TV shows are being based of there in the upcoming season.
        Went home during the Memorial day holiday. Was amazed how car- unfriendly the city is compared to when I grew up there. The parking meter fiasco. bike lanes choking the already narrow streets, red light (and soon to come speed cameras) and the overall conditions of the streets made me want to head out of there. Instead of putting up roadblocks to a new dealership, they should send flowers

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          There is no one left to care about Detroit inside of Detroit who can actually make a difference.

          I lived in Flint during their ‘shut down.’ Schools still barely functioned and the State Patrol policed the streets. It wasn’t much different from what life was like before but crime did spike. Detroit needs to shed its legacy costs just like GM and Chrysler did and right size the pay of their administration. Then there’s infrastructure…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Which is precisely the reason that Governor Snyder had to appoint an emergency manager, a move supported by the Michigan Legislature, since Detroit is a textbook example of democracy failing.

            The majority of Detroit residents resisted this, and still are trying to overturn it via court challenges (futile), and I’m convinced that the African American community, for the most part, would continue to perpetuate a failing structure even if they became even worse off for it, based on an emotional reaction that essentially boils down to “whites are trying to suppress us.”

            As it stands, even with an EM, Detroit’s prospects are poor given the third world school system, inability of the poor and elderly residents living there (trapped, as they weren’t able to flee to better cities) to afford their property taxes, and a lack of the most basic infrastructure essentials (efficient mass transit, street lighting, competent police and fire services, retailers – especially grocery stores, garbage hauling, and crumbling sanitary sewers, roads & even an adequate electrical grid & municipal water supply lines).

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            DW:
            I have acquaintances that are making it work while living in Detroit. Dual income engineer couple (one works for Ford, the other GM), paying for a great private schooling for both kids. You have to be upper middle class to afford living in Detroit.

            Crazy times we live in.

            My aspirations to one day have a Detroit address still exist. I got as close as south of 9 mile in Ferndale, but that doesn’t mean jack ****.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @DW — I will agree that Detroit has done very little to help itself, and has been mired in corruption for decades. That said, Snyder is anything but an honest dealer in this, and Detroiters have every reason to be suspicious of everything he does.

            This is, after all, the governor who railroaded through this emergency manager law after it was repealed by a ballot initiative, using a legislative trick to make it ineligible for repeal. The same one that withheld state funding owed to Detroit to force it into default. And the history of emergency managers in Michigan has been one of unmitigated failure — ask Flint or Battle Creek how they’re doing.

            Both sides here are woefully corrupt, and there’s no serious solution on the table. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Detroiters to want to slow down this process, since it’s almost certain to leave them off even worse than they started.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Dtremit-

            Rick Snyder has done exactly what he has said he was going to do. The City of Detroit has been crying about that tax money for years and the previous governor cut the revenue sharing payments. The $220 million dollars would have only bought Detroit more time.

            Flint and Battle Creek have had their issues, but Benton Harbor and Hamtramck have done better with EMs. After Hamtramck got out of EM control, they messed it up again.

            For you to say that Detroiters would end up even worse than where they started, I would ask you how? The police don’t come, the trash isn’t picked up, some blocks only have one or two houses, and crime is everywhere. It can’t be any worse on the East side than it is right now. I have to go to see a customer around the Warren and Alter area today. How he runs a buiness in that war zone, I have no idea.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @bball40dtw — Snyder said bankruptcy was “not an option” and that he wouldn’t allow it, in 2011. He also claimed he wouldn’t pursue a RTW law. I don’t see how that counts as doing what he said he’d do.

            As for how Detroit can be worse? Easy. It’ll be exactly the same as it is today, but with anything resembling a valuable asset or municipal revenue source sold off. Say goodbye to the DIA, the Detroit Historical Society collection, Cobo, Belle Isle…

        • 0 avatar

          As a 30-year-resident of Chicago, the parking meters were the last straw….The use tax in Cook moved me out of Cook as well. The next question is — Is my next move Wisconsin? It’s still commutable to where I work in an hour or less.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I do it

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            I was picking up the misses at O’Haire in February – this is the first time I’d been to Chicago in around 2 years. I had forgotten how much I hate the area, and the second she got into the car, I called up OnStar and said “get me the **** out of Chicago – how about Milwaukee?”

            And that was one of only 3 times I’ve used OnStar.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        This is a non-story story and I really see you guys can’t resist poking the left-wing bear even after you stated your admitted issue. I actually agree, the hispanic commitmentby ford should be handled at a ccorporate level by federal level groups. This story sound suspiciously like a cheap grab by a well connected businessman.

        Now, lets go back to the awkward white supremacy came out. Why was minority ownership associated with crime? Or as if they hadn’t earned it? I don’t feel like we need to go into the vast reasons but the reality a dealership is a large capital expenditure, like a factory. Few minorities have the capital to pull it together and even then they’re usually pressed to serve in redlined minority districts where the income levels due to white supremacy have created a massive sink hole, a poverty center that creates a world of inevitable failure.

        But carry on gentleman….carry on..

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          It isn’t minorities and white supremacy that create violence and entrench poverty. It is the work of social engineers like you. I find it highly incredible that you haven’t all figured it out after sentencing so many generations to misery. I consider it a conscious act of misanthropy at this point.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          I can’t say anything about why it was actually brought up, but there has always been a lot of fraud and cheating going on inside dealerships. Usually, its employees stealing from dealers.

          The minority program owned ones had a rep for cheating Ford more than the regular shops. There are many possible reasons for the reputation besides racism. For one thing, these were made more public while normal dealers would be dealt with more quietly. That wasn’t racism either, it was just a result of the way the things were set up.

          I wouldn’t blame the higher fraud level on the minority status, but on the lack of skin in the game (and I don’t recall any group being suspected more than any other except for anyone having public sector associations on their résumé being expected to cheat and/or fail).

          Ford often loaned the majority money to buy the dealership. Therefore, the dealer couldn’t make any money by selling the dealership. If it wasnt working out, fraud was a much better option for him/her than it would be for a dealer with the usual amount of equity. It didn’t take a heck of a lot of fraud to get their investment back in some cases. It was easy enough to do.

          Prosecutions were unheard of.

        • 0 avatar
          BuzzDog

          “Few minorities have the capital to pull it together…”

          How many people of *any* ethnicity have the capital to pull together a project requiring this level of investment?

          It’s a capital-intensive project. It’s gambling with startup capital, which, I will remind you (and is often overlooked) is other people’s money – investors and taxpayers.

          Pardon me for sounding too idealistic or simplistic here, but in my wide-eyed innocence (HA!) it would be a novel approach if this dealership were awarded to the *most qualified* potential owner.

          On second thought…nah, such outmoded thinking would never work…

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          It has nothing to do with minority ownership, it has to do with unqualified ownership. Which is the only ownership that you can possibly get when you’re required to ignore qualifications because sex and race are more important.

          But the real racism isn’t blatant racial discrimination in admission, hiring, advancement, etc. which is conducted at federal gun point.

          Real racism is us crackers noticing it.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I can understand where you are coming from, but the Ford program mostly found well qualified candidates who simply lacked capital. They might be experienced GMs at other dealers, VPs from Ford itself, or successful entrepreneurs from other industries.

            Compared to the usual suspects whose main qualification might be a stack of cash (sports stars, entertainers, land owners) the candidates weren’t unqualified. The program did have different methods and goals though, so that’s not a universal statement.

            The problem is that the stack of cash is of itself a qualification. You would think that a kid inheriting a stack of cash, or a dealership, would be equivalent to a professional type being loaned the money. Well, it doesn’t seem so. Someone with the cash and the drive is generally better than someone with the drive and a loan. I doubt they believe that in the Ivy League schools.

            I applaud Ford for its program. As a conservative and libertarian I don’t ignore or deny that a most minorities in this country are simply less likely to have a stack of cash due to past racist policies. On the contrary. I realize it wasn’t so much racism as racist government that caused the inequality. Ford had a mostly successful program that would have likely been more successful without concerns of government and PR. If I gave anyone the opposite impression that was in error.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            “…the Ford program mostly found well qualified candidates who simply lacked capital.”

            I think the question here is, why limit this model to race? i.e. why exclude non-minorities just because they aren’t a minority?

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      Howdy from another ex-pat!
      Unlike you I don’t miss the city at all. Everyone involved in the “Machine” constantly had a hand out waiting for a “gift”. It made it really expensive to run a business there (especially if you didn’t know a guy that could help move things along).
      If I were Fox I’d look to Berwyn, Hillside or even Countryside for a project that big.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Some of the gerrymandering on those wards is simply breathtaking. I’m looking at 32 and 1 and 30 and 31 specifcally. Those make Cincinnati look legit by comparison.

    In regards to someone else’s comment about rezoning around Wrigley Field, I read elsewhere that much of the issue had to do with wrangling over whether or not the proposed renovations would obscure the view of the field from nearby clubs/restaurants/apartments.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    Hey look – That map still has Meigs Field on it. How quaint!

    I recently moved to the Chicagoland area. I knew going in that there was alot of corruption and nepotism in Chicago and in state government. But the extent and outright brazenness of it still really surprised me. Seems every day there’s a story on the news or in the paper about some pol receiving kickbacks, putting family members on the public payroll, or appointing campaign contributors to obscure boards so they can collect a full time salary and pension for part time work. I look at how much the Cubs had to do to appease one alderman in order to get a half billion dollar privately funded renovation on Wrigley Field approved and wonder how the hell anything gets done. The friends and family plan really is the rule around here.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      In eight years, Bill Clinton took Arkansas from 47th to 49th in standard of living. I can only assume that West Virginia’s governor had no interest in the Democratic nomination in 1992. Why we’ve adopted this race to the bottom nationally is down to the media and the sheep-like nature of the electorate.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        I don’t listen to Rush, but I think he correctly says that you can’t beat Santa Claus in an election. Santa is running almost every level of government in almost every city, and it’s been nationally adopted since the 1930s, with only a few pauses.

        I see this even in our local school board, where our taxes are inexorably raised because we ‘need’ to replace the $1 million football field surface every 10 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      The only difference between Chicago and where you came from is that the corruption/nepotism in Chicago gets in the newspapers and on the TV news. Don’t be so naive.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Nope. Move around. It’s everywhere, but it’s less frequent, blatant, and bold faced in Chicago.

        Remember Meigs Field? Sheesh.

      • 0 avatar
        mypoint02

        I know this stuff goes on everywhere – I’m not naive. But in most places, including where I came from, if anything like what I’ve seen so far came to light, the crooks would be voted out of office or recalled immediately – not re-elected year after year.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    everyone here is reading this article the wrong way. Some guy effectively paid-off his locally elected reprentative with $6800 (that we know about) for the service of boggling a $57 million dollar dealership. That kind of action is a bargain. I need to chase this down with my local politicans here in NJ. What kind of favors can I buy? maybe they have a fee schedule or an ala carte menu?

    Maybe If I send a few hundered dollars to the mayor she’ll get the guy down the street from me to stop draining his septic system into the lake. I wonder if she takes paypal? I feel like there’s a whole new world of government action opportunies available to me now that I know how inexpensive polticians can be.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    TTAC Staff with another hatchet job. JB, I thought you wanted to clean this place up.

    The linked article is completely one-sided with no fact checking. A couple seconds with Google will show anyone that cares that Ald Waguespack and Ald Solis are in a giant feud over the ward remapping. Solis thinks that the new ward boundaries (which have not yet legally taken effect) should be used in zoning matters. Waguespack disagrees. Shocking, really.

    Furthermore, a few seconds with Google will show anyone that Chicago has been trying for decades to preserve industrial zoning, especially on large parcels such as these. Of course, the perception is that America doesn’t make anything anymore, but the reality is that we do. This particular site didn’t become vacant because of the economy or China or anything like that. It’s because that intersection is NOT the intersection of Fullerton and Elston, it’s the intersections of Fullerton, Elston and Damen which is one of the worst intersections in the city with an extremely high accident rate. The city is rebuilding the intersection to be safer and needs land to do it. Instead of an expensive and lengthy eminent domain process, they gave Vienna Beef TIF money to build a new hot dog factory elsewhere in the city.

    The construction hasn’t even started; as far as I have heard the design hasn’t even been finalized. And during construction, the city will probably want to use the vacant site for construction staging. So really, there is no reason for the city to rush anything. Solis is perfectly aware of this. Waguespack is too, but he’s just needling Solis by sending him the zoning issue and making Solis look like the bad guy.

    Lastly, of course, is the question of why the city would rezone for an auto dealership at all, if they were going to be rezoning at all. A large percentage of the taxes collected on the sale of a car goes down to the state government in Springfield, never to return. Rezoning as residential in an area of high and growing home prices promises a lot of money in property taxes that stays in the city and county. A new high rise in my neighborhood was just recently approved (with no demands for minority ownership or work contracts) with zero issues. It takes the site (just a fraction of the size of this industrial site in question) from producing about $250,000 in property taxes annually to producing about $25,000,000 in property taxes annually. Perhaps that puts this measly $50 million investment into perspective.

    Welcome to the big city, FMG Holdings.

  • avatar
    DinosaurWine

    This is exactly what is wrong with Chicago – a company wants to set up shop in your neighborhood and these corrupt idiots just can’t allow that to happen without getting their cut. Now the plans are on hold and the property sits unused as Ford tries to figure out how not to give away their dealership to a well-connected local businessman.

    My guess is this probably won’t go forward, and we’ll have to hear about how Republicans have driven all the jobs out of Chicago.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Read my previous post. The property is unused because the city needs part of it to build a new road alignment. They haven’t finished engineering yet so they don’t even know how much of the property they need. In 5 years when it’s finished, this property will be put to good use – not as a car dealership. There are a lot more lucrative options and these businessmen apparently can’t take a hint.

      They thought they were big shots rolling into town waving 50 million dollars around, but everything else on the zoning committee docket is $200 million or more. Yawn. Go to the back of the line.


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