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A Deeply Flawed City

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We are back in Chicago for a couple of nights. It’s been a whirlwind of travel for me and my wife. Mostly driving. We were in Florida for a few days to see our parents and we did fly to and from.

I was in Chicago for my daughter’s graduation from Northwestern Law. She took a job with Kirkland and Ellis here.

I have been all over the city where I used to live. That’s the Gold Coast, downtown in the Loop, and Lincoln Park. Chicago is shabby looking. Beat up. Not taken care of. This morning, walking down Dearborn Street right by the Latin School and Lincoln Park, the houses south of Latin looked terrible. Not kept. Weeds growing all over. Windows peeling. Plants over grown. Garbage.

I notice garbage everywhere. Streets are hard to drive on because of the potholes and sidewalks are all humpty dumpty.

Mayor Lightfoot is catching the blame but she is only partly to blame. It is intuitively obvious to even the most casual of observers that she is not up to the task of running the city. However, the ground work for this shabbiness and decay was laid during the Daley administration and by former Speaker Michael Madigan.

Governor Pritzker has been a disaster for the state.

The policy makers and politicos have it all wrong. They are pushing an agenda which will only increase the outflow.

People are fleeing. I was in a coffee shop in Old Town and the person in there said they were chatting with a realtor and the realtor confirmed my statement. Fleeing. I saw my old Gold Coast place for sale. It looks just like it did when I lived there. You can pick it up for a lower price than I did before I rehabbed it.

The cheerleaders try to cover it all up. You can put ice cream and a cherry on a piece of garbage, but it’s still garbage.

I don’t subscribe to Crain’s Chicago Business anymore, but there was an article about how tech workers are leaving. I saw an article put out by P33 encouraging Chicago tech workers to come back to Chicago when they were considering leaving SF and NYC. I was super dismayed about the content of that article. All they were selling was price. “It’s cheaper here” is not a good selling pitch. They aren’t just moving to Texas, Nevada, Tennessee, and Florida because it’s cheaper. They are moving for opportunity.

Hope sells better than price.

When I sold for 3M, one of the first things I learned was never get in a price discussion because then your product became a commodity. If Chicago gets in a commodity type discussion, it can never win. It couldn’t win before it looked shabby because of the weather.

Tech workers want to educate their children, live in safe neighborhoods, have modern not crumbling and unkept infrastructure, and opportunity. They don’t have that in NYC or Chicago or San Francisco, so they are leaving.

When I wax nostalgic about moving back, I see the terrible condition of the city and the future expectations as it relates to the fiscal situation, and I am glad I left.

The post A Deeply Flawed City first appeared on Points and Figures.


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