Saturday, February 24, 2007

Joe Moore: The Enemy of the Poor (and Everyone Else)

Joe Moore Votes to Triple The Home Heating Gas Tax

Many thanks to Toni Duncan, of 24/7 HowardWatchers, for reporting this on her blog.

Joe Moore has shown the "independence" and "progressivism" that is too typical of him in rubberstamping a brutally regressive triple increase in the home heating gas tax, in December, 2004. Here is another milestone in the wonderful record Moore likes to remind us of, along with his ongoing and lucrative friendships with arsonists and slumlords.

In this time of increasing fuel costs and stagnating incomes among the middle and lower income brackets, our city council has chosen to levy brutal and totally regressive taxes on the population at large, while conveying hundreds of millions of dollars to private developers and corporations via TIF districts and other Welfare For The Rich schemes; and by misallocating similarly massive sums to the construction of pharoanic and wasteful monuments to the vanity of Mayor Daley and his moneyed chums, and away from necessary services such as our failing schools, neglected neighborhood parks and recreational facilities, and our increasingly decrepit and unreliable public transportation.

What's worse, this particular tax will be disproportionately rougher on the very poor than even other regressive taxes, because poor homeowners and renters are much more likely than the rest of us to be burdened with aged and extremely inefficiant furnaces that they cannot afford to replace and that require at least twice as much fuel to produce the same amount of heat. It is not uncommon to hear of gas bills of $500 or more for a single month among poor residents, for the coldest months.

This vicious tax, along with the numerous other "stealth" taxes and the recent steep hikes in property taxes, are necessary to offset the shortfalls in tax revenues diverted from the public till by the 150 (and increasing) TIF districts, to private entities, some of whom are completely tax-exempt.

So, in this "blue" city of Democrats, as in the rest of this Republican country, the non-rich are plundered to pay for luxuries and monuments for the very rich. The city council cannot find more than $3 million to fund daily operations at the CTA, but can somehow find $42 million to contribute to the $216 million mega- el station for the luxury multiuse development on Block 37. There is no money for neighborhood parks and recreational facilities, but there are ample funds for Trophy Parks in downtown and for rehabilitations costing hundreds of millions for privately-owned sports stadiums. We do not have the money to operate, let alone improve, our failing and disreputable public schools, but we have $40 million to assist Loyola University, a well-endowed private institution that is completely exempt from taxation, so that they can renovate a handful of campus buildings.

Our own North Coast Aldercreatures, including Tunney (Lakeview), Shiller (Uptown), Mary Ann Smith (Edgewater), and Joe Moore (East Rogers Park) rubberstamped the increase without a wimper of protest. It is especially reprehensible on the part of Shiller and Moore, for these two aldermen have built their political careers by posturing as advocates for the disadvantaged and promoters of "progressive" politics, yet I have only once heard of either of them voting against any of Hizzoner's TIF boondogles or unnecessary public works extravaganzas (Moore voted against one TIF, the LaSalle Central). The same could be said of the alderman representing the city's poverty-stricken wards on the south and west sides.

None of the token 'feel good' programs to assist the poor and those in the middle brackets, such as tax credits for 'green' buildings, CPAN 'set asides', and other crumbs cast to the non-elite from the groaning board at which are seated our political leaders and their moneyed cronies, are an even fractional offset to the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies , both cash and in kind, that flow to the wealthy and connected. Speaking strictly for myself, I'll happily forfeit all the socialistic nonsense such as CPAN subsidies for middle income buyers, and city mortgage buydowns, in return for a rollback in property taxes, but most of all for a rollback of the home heating gas tax.

Hopefully, the 49th , the 50th,and the 46th Wards will elect new aldermen this coming Tuesday. To the new candidates who will replace the old, I say this: we will be watching you, and we will expect that you will place the welfare of the constituents who voted for you, and the ongoing solvency and viability of Chicago itself, ahead of your monied contributors and your own vanity. We like civic adornments, but not at the cost of our homes and our very lives. We want a sensibly run, solvent city that provides a high level of essential services, including superior police and fire protection, well-run, highly rated schools, reliable and rapid transit, and attention and timely service to the ward you represent, and we expect that you can provide this without taxing us out of our homes by constantly escalating property taxes. We also want a vision for the city's future that recognizes that meeting the challenge of financing the city's services and driving economic growth will call for vastly different solutions than those chosen by our leaders to date, and that trophy projects and monument- building will have to take a back seat to preparing the city for a future that is likely to be very different, and much more difficult, than the past.


Couch Captain said...

2004 is this a flashback?

The North Coast said...

I agree that we need to keep current on city council actions so we can protest while we still might make a difference.

Still, it's worthwhile to recite history, since Joe likes to stand on his "record".

This is part of his record, like his associations with convicted arsonists and slumlords. Buljubasic's conviction for arson is "yesterday's news" but Buljubasic has continued to contribute to Joe's campaign through this January.

Fargo said...

north coast said:
"This is part of his record, like his associations with convicted arsonists and slumlords. Buljubasic's conviction for arson is "yesterday's news" but Buljubasic has continued to contribute to Joe's campaign through this January. "

This is relevant stuff, along with Joe's close connection with Jay Johnson, slumlord owner of 7700-7706 N. Marshfield (in housing court yesterday). In spite of Johnson's long history of negligent building management, he is still on Joe's Zoning Advisory Board and is a significant contributor to Joe's campaign fund.

The run-off election is coming up soon. It's time to remember all of these significant problems when it's time to vote on 4/17.

Margot Hackett said...

AMEN LAURA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This scathing commentary is a gross exaggeration and unfair representation of Alderman Moore’s proven record as an independent progressive in the City Council. Joe Moore has overseen a steady and major improvement in all areas affecting the quality of life for 49th Ward residents. He has shown himself to be hard working, progressive and effective—a strong advocate in the Chicago City Council for those who live and work in the 49th Ward.

Tax on Natural Gas
Mayor Daley proposed a series of tax increases for the budget with a view to off-setting the City’s personnel costs. Grudgingly the City Council passed the measure in a 47-3 vote (Only Dorothy Tillman, Toni Preckwinkle and Arenda Troutman voted No). One of the provisions was an increase in the tax on natural gas. Though an increase in the cost of heating oil may impact some of the more vulnerable in the 49th Ward, it is not a widespread phenomena to observe heating bills in the range of $500 to heat a home. Those who do find themselves in such a situation have various means of recourse through programs that Alderman Moore has staunchly supported.

Stamping out Slumlords in the 49th Ward
Alderman Moore has a staff member permanently assigned to work on residential landlord-tenant issues. This staff member works very closely with landlords and tenants to resolve outstanding lease issues and to correct outstanding City Building Code violations. Inspections by representatives of the City's Building Department are arranged if necessary, and a 49th Ward Staff member attends all hearings if the violations are serious enough to warrant a Housing Court case. In dozens of instances where there has been criminal activity associated with a particular building, the Alderman has requested that the building owner attend a meeting at the 49th Ward Service Office with officers from the 24th Police District, 49th Ward Staff and neighbors of the building in order to arrive at solutions for the problems tied to the property. Many of these properties are currently among the more well-maintained in the 49th Ward. During Alderman Moore's tenure literally hundreds of buildings have been subject to City Building Inspections and their owners have been forced to bring their building into compliance with city regulations. In the worst cases Alderman Moore has successfully lobbied judges to order buildings vacated, and in three cases landlords have actually been required to do jail time for their neglect.
The 49th Ward experienced serious problems with a developer who engaged in bank fraud involving the conversion of twelve buildings to condominiums from 2000 to 2001. This developer used fraudulent appraisals and brokered mortgages through his own mortgage brokerage company to sell 153 condominium units to 16 conspirators at drastically inflated prices. The buildings sat vacant and began to suffer from neglect and drew criminal activity. Alderman Moore coordinated efforts of numerous City Departments, Community Organizations, neighbors, friendly attorneys, responsible developers and banks in order to turn these buildings around. A process that many thought would take over three and one-half years was accomplished in one year and today all of those buildings are in responsible hands and have either started selling or renting units or will be doing so soon.
Voting Record
Along with his accomplishments in the Ward, Moore’s voting record proves that he is a true progressive and independent voice in the city council, only agreeing with the Mayor on average 77% of the time compared to some of his colleagues who vote with the Mayor up to 95% of the time. He voted Yes, in the face of Mayoral opposition to the Big Box Ordinance. (Amendment of Title 4 of Municipal of Chicago by creation of new Chapter 404 entitled “Large Retailers”; 7/26/2006). Moore’s courage in the council will allow many workers in Chicago to be appropriately remunerated for their hard work and allow them to provide a decent standard of living to their families.

An Alderman for everyone in this Diverse Community
Alderman Moore has always maintained an effective balance between the need to generate business in the 49th Ward with the need for capital improvements and increased city services. Claiming that Alderman Moore is propping up business at the expense of poor people in the 49th is a cheap play on an emotive issue and it is simply not true.

RogersParking said...

"He has shown himself to be hard working, progressive and effective..."

Might I add: "...once every four years."

I_piss_in_your_planters said...

Craig's planters looked a little dry so I pissed in them.

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