Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, April 22

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Quinn Has A Serious Challenge In Hynes I Don't Think That's Why the GOP Opposes Cash for Clunkers »

Olympics Fri Aug 07 2009

The Olympic Bid Committee May Think You're Stupid

  • The city bought Michael Reese hospital and will TIF the area its in.

  • It will use the TIF money to finance (a tiny part) of the Olympic Village.

  • Patrick Sandusky, of the Chicago 2016 bid committee, says that that's not really spending city money on the Olympics, since without the Olympics there would *not* be taxes paid on that property anyway.


"There's no village there now, so there are no incremental taxes," he said.

True... because the city bought the property, didn't they? Sandusky, who thinks you are an idiot apparently, has an elder statesman of Chicago commerce friend also named Patrick*, although this guy's last name is "Ryan". He claimed this:

"That's not money for the Olympic Village, the Olympic Village will be a place if we win the games that will be rented and the athletes will for three weeks," Ryan said. "This is money that will be used to build roads, a grid system, sewers - all the things for a neighborhood."

You're right. Building 2,500 luxury condos where a hospital used to be doesn't require its own adjustments to sewer and road facilities. Those are generous donations to the neighborhood. When you add 2,500 residences -- or, let's say, 7,000 people -- to a neighborhood, you don't need to improve sewer systems or widen roads to service them. No, you just build the 2,500 residences, and then you majestically donate road and sewers to the neighborhood around the 2,500 residences because you're nice.

Hey, you know what's a great piece of infrastructure? A goddamn hospital. Particularly one of the hospitals in Chicago that actually had a dedicated AIDS facility.

It's true that tax-exempt hospitals don't pay taxes. But, of course, Michael Reese Hospital did pay property taxes. Reese was in decline, so their being bought out and shut down wasn't necessarily the only reason they closed. But, what am I saying? Reese was a failing hospital -- so the only other option is to convert it into 2,500 luxury condos. Because Chicago is running out of precious, precious condos. Now the Olympic Village will pay the tax increment, which will go to building glorious new road and sewer facilities for the surrounding area. This has nothing to do with the Olympics, by the way. It's just the city making a purchase and deciding that the only appropriate use of the property is thousands of luxury condos, and then siphoning money away from the school district in order to pay for servicing of the property.

Thanks for explaining that to us rubes, Bid Committee. How did we ever make decisions about planning in this city without you?

Do you moron residents out there get it yet? When the city spends $85 million on buying and condemning a building, then millions more on the contract to demolish it, then announces that it's going to create a new TIF that will route $100m to building road and sewer facilities to service the 2,500 luxury condos they are demanding purchasers of the now publicly-owned property build, (money that, by the way, would go to schools otherwise) and when the city gives public parkland to be taken over by private operators for years to construct facilities on them, that isn't spending public money on the Olympics! That's just spending money on stuff the city felt like doing and, oh hey look, it's going to help us have an Olympics. Now, stop asking questions. Just obey, OK? Obey! Man. Idiots.

*I don't know if Patrick Ryan and Patrick Sandusky are actually friends.

GB store
GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15