Screenshots of Occupy Rogers Park's Facebook page above (who shall henceforth be forever known as ORP). ORP is accusing Joe Moore of being pro-gentrification (aka revitalization) and a school board killer (Rahm Emanuel). They point out that 75 percent of the PB 49 voters are white college educated homeowners (aka wealthy ( wealthy people are multi-millionaires who don't have to work for a living and they don't live in Rogers Park). Is that Joe Moore's doing?
Who is going to care more about infrastructure improvement more than homeowners? ORP astutely points out the racial disparity in "wealth", home ownership, and education in Rogers Park. How is standing around with placards with all knowing grins in front of the alderman going to change society's problems? This is not a situation unique to Rogers Park.
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Last edited 8/10/14 7:48 pm
According to ORP neighborhoods are allowed to decline but can only improve up until a certain point; the point they have arbitrarily defined. Gentrification is a class not race issue. Gentrification does expose quite clearly and overtly however the racial disparity in education and income level more than any other process today.
Can an alderman single handedly fix society's problems fast enough to make up for the multiple historical reasons why these inequalities persist to this very day? Should an alderman halt progress in his neighborhood so that others (including suburbs) flourish instead? Birds of a feather flock together for better or for worse. Neighborhoods and suburbs stagnate, decline or improve over time. Which is the fate of Rogers Park?
The Occupy movement has taken bizarre twists, turns and offshoots since their original founding @ Wall Street. The silent sign holding of ORP being the strangest, most disturbing trend of late (soon to be lit up as they are found their own Overpass Light Brigade). All that you need is a catchy radical phrase, a good smirk, someone to take your picture and you are ready to begin your career as a silent sign holder.(Perhaps sign restoration on Chevanston would take off in popularity if the same tactics were taken?)
The term gentrification was coined by Ruth Glass in the sixties (1964 to be exact), when the phenomenon was first noticed in London. Gentrification has been observed ever since white flight (post World War 2). Beginning in places like Greenwich Village in Manhattan, Haight Asbury SF or Near North side (Old Town) here in Chicago.
People returning to the cities throughout America as people grew bored or disillusioned with life in the suburbs. The reinvestment into other city neighborhoods continues when people are priced out of neighborhood previously run down.
According to some groups only certain neighborhoods are allowed to improve or "gentrify". Generally the accepted time frame of gentrification is from 1960's up until the mid-nineties or early aughts? Anything after that is just unacceptable.
Where was ORP when Wicker Park was taking off in the early-mid nineties? Was that okay? And when Lincoln Park's real estate shot up in value in the mid eighties, where was the outcry? Wonder how ORP would feel if the opposite was happening in Rogers Park?
Like RP was in the late seventies, eighties early nineties when David Orr was the alderman?. (interesting side not, David Orr served as mayor of Chicago for one week after Mayor Harold Washington's death) Would they have stood around holding placards with slogans about how section 8 and slum lord housing was ruining the neighborhood? (Those same people who like the neighborhood as it is at this exact moment wouldn't feel safe enough to congregate at that time.)
There are many places in the city of Chicago where gentrification is in much earlier stages or nonexistent. And there are plenty of other places in the city that need reinvestment besides the far north side. South Shore right now is in the very earliest stages of improvement attracting risk oblivious investors.
Pilsen as well is showing signs of reinvestment too for the risk aware to the risk oblivious. The risk averse stick to Crib Chatter's site and the "green zone". (Three types of investors and neighborhood types in a city, risk oblivious, risk aware and risk averse.)
Why is Rogers Park improving right now? The short answer is capitalism. Real estate agents, investors etc would tell you, location, location, location. Rogers Park has the only true street end beaches in Chicago (you don't have to walk under LSD), a world class university (Loyola), great housing stock.
Its a stone's throw from Evanston (neo-liberal heaven), great public transportation with the "L" and Metra and an eccentric billionaire (who's alma mater is Loyola). How dare it improve? Joe Moore has done a decent job as alderman promoting new businesses and working hard to make it a safer neighborhood.
Its not just Joe Moore's fault that Rogers Park is improving, there are many different factors at work and it is many other neighbors' and businesses' faults as well. ORP can try as hard as they like but demographic shifts that happen over decades nationwide is not something that can be stopped with politics.