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Verella’s Round-Up: "HODGEPODGE"

verella osborne

Having just returned from a 24-day vacation this week, my brain is still in holiday mode. The following is a grab-bag of unrelated issues that have all arisen within the last few months:


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Around Rogers Park: 18th Annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest August 16-18


The Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest is back again. It has become one of the community’s most anticipated summer events. RPBG’s Art Goldberg and Mary Bao are both on the 2019 Planning Committee.


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Around Rogers Park: In Memoriam – Sharon Kozak


It is with great sadness that we observe the passing of long-time RPBG Member, Sharon Kozak, who died on June 14. She is preceded in death by her husband, Larry Tobiasz, who died eight years earlier. Sharon was also a long-time resident of Rogers Park and lived for many years in her beautifully restored home on Juneway Terrace. Sharon was a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker in Evanston and was a well-established agent on both sides of the Evanston-Chicago line. We are saddened by her loss and wish to express our condolences to her friends and family.


Around Rogers Park: The Real Deal Reports Big Rent Increases in Rogers Park


The headline is ominous – “A Vicious Cycle: Skyrocketing Rogers Park rents may rob neighborhoods of affordable housing.” Thus begins Alex Nitkin’s article in The Real Deal, an internet news service that reports on real estate in the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago.


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Around Rogers Park: Lifeline Theater Thanks RPBG for its Support


In a May 17th letter addressed to the Rogers Park Builders Group, Lifeline Theater Directors Allison Cain and Ilesa Duncan wrote to thank our organization, and Jay Johnson in particular, for our financial support of the theater’s accessibility programming.



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Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin: Just Housing Ordinance


Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (13thDistrict) joined the Tuesday, May 28 meeting via Skype from Springfield to discuss the recently passed Just Housing Ordinance (JHO) by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights. The new law prohibits property owners and managers, including owners of condos and cooperatives, from asking about an applicant’s criminal background until after the housing provider makes a conditional approval of the applicant. Most members of the RPBG and Cook County’s property owner community feel that this new law will unduly complicate the screening process and cause property owners to be more defensive (out of concern for being sued).


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As I See It: Commissioners: Reconsider the Just Housing Ordinance


My “Aha Moment” arrived when I read the title of the Sun Times editorial, dated April 28, criticizing the County Board’s passage of the Just Housing Ordinance.

“Don’t punish landlords to make more housing available for ex-offenders.”


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Rent Control Fails in Springfield

Wednesday, March 27th was a big day in Springfield for those of us who have been following the rent control saga over the past number of months. No fewer than three rent control bills were vying with each other for consideration by the commercial law subcommittee of the Judiciary – Civil committee in the Illinois General Assembly.


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Maria Hadden, Newly Elected Alderwoman of the 49th Ward


I had never met Maria Hadden before she graciously agreed to let me interview her for our Newsletter. I went to her office on Morse Avenue for a 4 o’clock appointment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in mid-March. I figured I’d be lucky to get 45 minutes or an hour of her time. After all, she’s got a lot on her plate. Maria won the general election for 49th Ward Alderman on February 26 with over 63% of the popular vote. The unambiguous result allowed her to skip over the run-offs in April. But she is not resting on her laurels. She has a long to-do list as she prepares for her new role. I figured some strange guy from a property-owner organization would not rank very high on her priority list.


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Proposed Tax Relief for Affordable Rentals

There has been no lack of legislative initiatives in Springfield lately to preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing in Illinois. Unfortunately, several of these legislative initiatives focus on Rent Control as a cure-all to the region’s affordable housing woes. The Rogers Park Builders Group firmly opposes any effort to adopt rent control in the state. RPBG believes that, far from solving our affordable housing problems, rent control will only make them worse with considerable collateral damage to our livelihoods and the wider economies of the city, region and state.


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As widely reported, the efforts in Springfield to lift the State ban on rent control were recently defeated. While it was determined that rent control is not a practical solution, the affordable housing problem nevertheless remains. So, rather than focusing on what doesn’t work, we must now ask ourselves if there are other solutions that can work to correct this problem. In fact, there is one very cost effective and readily available alternative that is gaining grass roots support and that affordable housing advocates, apartment building owners and city officials can all support.


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