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As I See It - Bidding Adieu to the “Steve Cain Era” as Editor/Writer of this Newsletter



Our Rogers Park Builders Group website contains a special section – one that I urge you to visit.

At this link, you can find a special archive of RPBG’s prior newsletters, from Fall 1999 all the way to the present.

Terry and Mary Jane Sacks

The RPBG sent out its first quarterly newsletter in 1996, under the direction of then President Michael Wallk. The editor and chief writer, Terry Sacks, a Rogers Park resident, was an accomplished writer. He and his wife Mary Jane shared in the duties of handling administrative tasks for the RPBG and Terry’s passion was our newsletter, which he named “The Builder.”

Through its 27 year history, the RPBG sent out The Builder to its sprawling database of followers (consistently over 1500 persons). The process of writing the newsletter, laying it out and printing it was only part of the challenge. Mary Jane used to have newsletters scattered throughout her and Terry’s apartment, as they would fold, tape, stamp and prepare the newsletter for mailing.

I urge you to enter our archives and read a few of its articles. For instance, our Fall, 1999 newsletter offers a headline that shows that issues have not changed over the years: “RPBG Supports Plan to Convert Units in Howard North Area for Affordable Condos.”

Consider some other highlights:

Spring, 2001: “An Act of Faith: Al Goldberg’s Investment in Art Oriented Building Pays Off”. Al’s investment in art stabilized the corner of Morse and Glenwood; and Al would soon launch the neighborhood’s Glenwood Avenue ArtsFest, a Rogers Park tradition for the past 22 years.

Fall, 2001 (page 4): “9/11: A Tribute 9/25: A Milestone” – one of my favorite columns - about our first post 9/11 RPBG meeting, and how we commemorated the memory of the nephew of our Vice President, Laurene Huffman, whose nephew lost his life at the Pentagon on that fateful day.

Summer, 2003: “Sudanese Boys Tale Spurs RPBG’s Marty Max to Build New Learning Center” – How Marty Max was so moved upon hearing the compelling stories told by Peter Bul, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” that he single handedly constructed a learning center at a local church so the young men could learn computer skills.

Fall, 2004, p.5: “Palestinian Immigrant’s Success – Story Reads like Horatio Alger” – an interview that Terry conducted with our long standing Director, Ibrahim Shihadeh, whom we honored with the Presidents’ Award in 2022.

Steve Cain and Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi

When Terry passed away in 2010, most of us grew concerned that the newsletter would meet its end. Yet, it was the RPBG’s great fortune that our Secretary, Steve Cain – an accomplished lender and property investor – accepted Marty Max’s request that he consider taking over production of the newsletter.

Since, 2010 – for the past 13 years – the RPBG has continued its tradition of issuing quarterly newsletters – now sent digitally instead of by mail, and the quality and relevancy of our articles has only improved over time.

Scan through the archives. Find a treasure trove of fascinating articles written by Steve – from his deep dive into the Immigration problem (Summer, 2017), redevelopment of the Heartland Café site (Summer, 2019); updates on eviction moratoria (Summer, 2021), and many more.

When I first met Steve in the early 2000s, he was a loan officer with Washington Mutual (later acquired by Chase). I was so impressed with his intelligence and people skills. I was thrilled – thinking that I was entering a long term relationship with an exceptional lender. Shortly after I inked those loan documents, Steve surprised me with me his big news: “Mike. I am leaving Chase. I am moving to Brazil to learn how to speak Portuguese.”

How fortunate that Steve’s stay in Brazil was relatively short lived, that he would return to Chicago, re-join the RPBG, and soon thereafter, assume the role as editor of The Builder.

What a joy it’s been working with Steve for the past 13 years (especially the past five years after resuming the post of RPBG President). Steve is a skillful and compassionate writer and editor – an independent thinker with one major quest – seeking and conveying his perception of the truth.

As a result of his hard work, many people – real estate professionals, community members and elected officials and bureaucrats City and County wide – have been enlightened.

We at the RPBG are not sure how we will continue on in 2024 without Steve’s involvement. We will figure something out – and perhaps find a way of communicating in a way far different than a quarterly newsletter.

Now, our focus is on Steve – and his amazing accomplishment and invaluable contribution to our organization, to Rogers Park, and to the City of Chicago.

Take a few minutes and scroll through our newsletter archive. Read an article or two – whether written and edited by Steve, or his able predecessor, Terry Sacks.

We owe such a huge debt of gratitude to Steve and to Terry for their commitment to the Rogers Park Builders Group. Your efforts helped lift the image of our organization, and placed Rogers Park as a location where housing providers would consider investing and improving properties.

Thank you Steve for your years of dedication to the RPBG. This also seems like the right time to honor Terry, although he’s been gone for many years.

Somehow, we will carry on the tradition that you both started, keeping local real estate professionals and others in the community informed on important issues.

Please apply if you are interested!




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