#736: The Year 2022

January 9th, 2017

Federal funding for projects will be at an all-time low after four years of a vindictive President Trump blocking infrastructure and environmental projects for the nation’s third-largest city, particular brownfield cleanup and redevelopment on the South Side. Emanuel had responded by increased TIF funding of projects, which poaches growth from the schools, leading to further exodus from the city by young families…

They asked me in a beautiful home, one four generations and going. They sat me among old photos and memories from Riverview Park and the Boxer Rebellion, put me in front of a podcast mic and asked what I predict for Chicago in the year 2022.

… Emanuel’s separate picking off of the PMDs (planned manufacturing districts), most notably in the second ward, in favor of luxury apartments for the young will kill what little manufacturing jobs are left in the city, plus lead to increased environmental spending by the city as there won’t be the legions of scrapper trucks handling much of the city’s recycling burden. No point in driving a truck around looking for abandoned pipes and old washing machines when the scrapyard that used to pay for them is now a glass box apartment with a Lululemon and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on the ground floor…

It was for the Your Chicago Podcast, a really fun show you should all listen to.

… PMD elimination will make Chicago an attractive destination for young whites from across the Midwest to spend their 20s, but will not lead to great investment in the communities. Despite the creation of a new arts magnet school on the old General Iron scrapyard site, the residents of Sterling Bay’s new “Steelyard” development on the old Finkl Steel site will still leave when they realize their kids will have to go to a gutted Chicago Public Schools…

I first went on the show in 2013 for Episode 36, which you probably shouldn’t listen to because I was all nervous the first time and overcompensated by trying to be Mr. Funnylaffs. No one likes a guy who tries too hard.

… I expect criminal charges against at least two and no more than five Chicago aldermen, probably related to redevelopment projects on the South Side, but maybe a few stemming from the then-gentrifying areas of Hermosa, Belmont Gardens, East Garfield Park and Homan Square…

So I was thrilled when they asked me back for Episode 100, a touch base with past guests like me, Margaret Hicks and — if you’re a comics nerd like me you’ll get how cool this is — Gene frickin’ Ha!

… The Sun-Times will go online-only, the Trib will consider dropping its Saturday print issue, but will continue when faced with public outcry on Twitter, Facebook and Fnorg. Those people doing the outcry will continue not to subscribe…

Hosts Arden and Stefania record the podcast in Arden’s parents’ home, which was her grandparents’ home, which was her great-grandparents’ home, I believe. It’s a beautiful two-flat filled with generations of memories, both familial and Chicagoan, now the occasional home of a podcast dedicated to this weird, beautiful city.

… One more full CPS strike, two threats that will be defused within 48 hours of deadline. Two more Cubs playoff berths, possibly another series. Sox will get respectable, but even by 2022 will still be a few years away from building a truly competitive program. The Bears will still suck….

For the 100th episode, Arden and Stefania had all the guests play games. Taped during our respective solo interviews, we rapid-fire chose Cubs or Sox, “pop” or “soda,” Lou’s or Uno. (The correct answers, of course, were Cubs, pop and Pequod’s.) We picked questions for each other to answer. We shared Chicago secrets we knew or lectures we wanted to give the city.

And they asked our predictions for the year 2022.

… City population loss will possibly require eliminating a ward or combining two wards, leading to massive counsel infighting…

I didn’t give the full rant that’s appearing in italics in this blog post, just the bit about the aldermanic charges and picking the gentrifying neighborhoods of five years hence. I didn’t do the full rant because I’m not momentarily excited for Chicago’s five-year forecast. I think the next five years will be a period the city survives, not one that will set records or make history books.

But I do think we’ll survive. And I think once our apricot shame-glob is plucked from the White House and put back into his gold castle, the nation and this city can get back to the business of moving ahead.

At the end of it, we’re Chicago. We don’t lose, just push back success.

… President Biden will make overtures to the city, most notably by sending VP Booker to a few high-profile appearances on the South Side. The Obama presidential library will briefly become to go-to destination for high school field trips through the region, as the classes can do that in the morning and pop over to the MSI after lunch. State Sen. Lupe Fiasco, D-Chicago, will make headlines by…

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