Friday, August 28, 2020

Leaving Chicago

The city that gave us Barack Obama has seen better days. When Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel took over as Chicago mayor, the city’s crime rate spiked. It became a shooting gallery.

Now, things are worse. Under the new mayor, one Lori Lightfoot, far more diverse in her person than Rahm, the city has become a hellhole. Not just in the bad neighborhoods, but in the good neighborhoods. You see, the Black Lives Matter domestic insurgency has not limited its destruction to poor neighborhoods, It has been moving into good neighborhoods and even suburbs. It wants to deprive you of peace and quiet, and does not want to allow you to sleep.

The result. Chicagoans are leaving town. Where is Richard Daley when you need him?

The Chicago Tribune has the story:

Incidents of widespread looting and soaring homicide figures in Chicago have made national news during an already tumultuous year. As a result, some say residents in affluent neighborhoods downtown, and on the North Side, no longer feel safe in the city’s epicenter and are looking to move away. Aldermen say they see their constituents leaving the city, and it’s a concern echoed by some real estate agents and the head of a sizable property management firm.

The Tribune continues:

It’s still too soon to get an accurate measure of an actual shift in population, and such a change could be driven by a number of factors — from restless residents looking for more spacious homes in the suburbs due to COVID-19, to remote work allowing more employees to live anywhere they please.

But, for some Chicagoans, the chaotic bouts of destruction in recent months have proven to be the last straw.

The day after looting broke out two weeks ago, a Tribune columnist strolled through Gold Coast and Streeterville. Residents of the swanky Near North Side told him they’d be moving “as soon as we can get out.” Others expressed fear of returning downtown in the future.

Consider the viewpoint of Rafeal Murillo, a broker who specializes in downtown high rises:

Buyers looking for homes in the Loop, South Loop or Gold Coast have been taking a pause and reconsidering their purchase, Murillo said. And there are more sellers who want out. In recent weeks, Murillo said he has talked with three or four sellers who live downtown and are thinking about moving to the North Shore, to Hinsdale or out of Illinois.

“They want to feel safe,” Murillo said. “They want to be able to come outside their homes and enjoy their neighborhood amenities, whether it’s running at the park, enjoying a nice little dinner, shopping. But with everything going on, there are a lot of residents who are not feeling safe right now.”

Even before the rioting started, Chicago real estate was in free fall:

The Chicago real estate market was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic before unrest broke out in late May. The number of May home sales citywide fell by 43.6% compared to May 2019, a more severe drop than seen statewide, according to data from the Chicago Association of Realtors. Homes sold about as quickly as they did in 2019, spending an average of 39 days on the market.

The decline in June closings compared to June 2019 was less severe, down 28.4%, and July closings were actually higher compared to last year, which the association suggested meant the market was recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

August figures won’t be released until late September, and because new listings spend weeks on the market, assessing the impact of the summer unrest is still several months off.


But reports suggest the downtown housing market is experiencing a significant impact. Home sales in the Loop and River North, particularly high-priced homes, have dropped dramatically this year compared to the decade prior, by as much as one-third in parts of the downtown area, according to Crain’s Chicago.

Listen to Charlie Ragusa, a client of Rafael Murillo:

After moving into a South Loop condo 13 years ago after a job transfer, Charlie Ragusa, a real estate client of Murillo’s, fell in love with the city and his neighborhood. When he retired last year, he planned to keep his condo to travel back and forth between Chicago and his home in Boston. But now, the 61-year-old said his plans have changed.

“I don’t feel comfortable here in the city anymore,” he said. While Ragusa said he understands the point of recent protests, “there’s more than one thing going on in the city.”

“People have the right to get their message out there … whatever it might be. But beyond the protests, we have the violence that’s attached to the protests,” he said. “Often times, we combine the two of them together, because they pretty much happen at the same time. The violence is overpowering the people who have a message to say.”

A regular walker and cyclist, Ragusa said he no longer feels safe doing those activities in and around his neighborhood. He’s afraid to go out at night, he said, and hasn’t enjoyed a leisurely stroll since parts of downtown have been boarded up.

“I don’t like walking the city and seeing the entire city boarded up,” he said. “That doesn’t look like a beautiful city that we’re from; that looks like a third-world country. That’s not a safe, pretty environment. That doesn’t make you feel welcome.”

Who does Ragusa blame? None other than Mayor Lightfoot. She is obviously incapable of doing her job. Reminds us of Bill de Blasio. As for the Illinois governor, J. B. Pritzker, an heir to a major fortune, and an Obama backer, he has been AWOL:

Frustrated by what he sees as inaction from Lightfoot and city officials, Ragusa said crime in Chicago is out of control. He blames Lightfoot for the continued destruction downtown, he added.

“She hasn’t done her job,” he said of the mayor. “Her job is to protect me and protect the city. And I just don’t see that she’s doing it. I can’t go out at nighttime anymore. I’m afraid to. That’s not normal; that’s not the way Americans are supposed to live.”

Ragusa’s condo is currently on the market, and he said he’ll move back to Boston permanently by October, whether his condo sells or not.

Good bye, Chicago.


urbane legend said...

Enough! Ragusa, Blau over in NYC, get a clue: none of this will change until you decide responsibility has value. Not Lightfoot's responsibility, not DeBlasio's responsibility, your responsibility; to your family, friends, and community to make the city safe, a place where people can live, raise families and conduct business.

But no. You throw up your hands and say, " somenody should do their job, " when you mean somebody else.

Do what needs to be done here, or nothing will change. Be an adult. You may find it more exciting than real estate.

370H55V said...

Lucky for the Dems that the census is calibrated to locations as of April 1, before all this chaos started and people started leaving places like Chicago and NY in droves. This way it doesn't cost them House seats.

370H55V said...

PS. Coming soon to Boston too.

Sam L. said...

As I keep saying, ya gotta make plans to "get out of Dodge" when your mayor and governor are Democrats and you are now a "two-time loser".

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I am with urbane legend...

Left-wing America is all about passing the buck, talking about mysterious bogeymen. They attack people and communities who take responsibility and call them "privileged." The Left's view of EQUALITY is equality of result, which is an abdication of personal agency and responsibility. It demands nothing of its adherents. It leads to a nanny state where some regulatory body, law enforcement or totalitarian regime makes things better for you until they run out of other peoples' money. This talk of "systemic racism" as a given, along with sweeping societal economic remedies (transfer payments) to address "disparate impact" is an obvious path to socialism. They are taking the fallen nature of human beings and turning it into a perennial justification for radical programs that won't change our fallen nature. It's a bunch of bunk.

Random Chance said...

“That doesn’t look like a beautiful city that we’re from; that looks like a third-world country."

That's exactly what it is, Mr. Ragusa. Complete with a third-world citizenry, third-world politicians, and third-world politics. And, it's exactly what Democrats want for everyone in America. Third-world violence and squalor for all - in a word, "equity".

trigger warning said...

Mr Ragusa should drive through Cicero. Henry's Hot Dogs, putative home of the fabulous Chicago-style hot dog, is, AFAIK, still there. But most of the public advertising is in Spanish. It's a third-world suburb. I was amused to read that heavily armed Latin Kings were patrolling the boundaries of Cicero during the early days of the mostly peaceful but fiery BLM riots.

We lasted 2.5 yr in Chicagoland. 1989-1992. Toddlin' town, but violent. If you visit, Arun's - if it still exists - was the best Thai in town. Charlie Trotter's isn't what it used to be, or so I hear.

Giordano Bruno said...

Peel and peel and peel the onion and you keep getting the same result: demographics

Giordano Bruno said...

You know what happens when you crap on your highest-spending customers, the ones who pay the bills, and instead ignore them for a rowdy bunch of bums who just cause trouble? They don't come back and all you have are bums. True in all business affairs and true in almost every large US city right now. Nasty piece of work that mayor; I can't even look at her without wincing. The great, masculine city of Chicago, presided over by that creature as it circles the drain. Says a lot about America.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

SecondCity Cop gives a unique, experienced view of Chicago’s woes: