Comparing Chicago’s Deteriorating Neighborhoods to Detroit’s

Commenter “alabamashake” disagrees with the statement,

A once beautiful state is turning into Detroit because of the Democrats.

As far as Chicago goes, it’s difficult to extract the Democratic Party from responsibility.

That party’s officials have been in control since the 1930’s.

After the quote, there is this comment:

1) No, it is turning into anything close to Detroit. Good try though.

2) The highest property taxes in the state are all or almost all in Republican controlled municipalities. McHenry County is almost completely represented by Republicans. But sure – its ALL THE DEMOCRATS FAULT!

I’ll take on what I take as a denial that Chicago is looking like Detroit by posting links below to various articles on Marathon Pundit which show housing and other buildings in both cities.

They look pretty similar to me.

Neighborhoods in Detroit:

Near Telegraph Road

Hawthorne Street

Abandoned home in Detroit.

Abandoned home in Detroit.

Grixdale Farms Part 1 –

Grixdale Farms Part 2

Here’s Chicago looking like Detroit:



West Garfield Park

East Garfield Park

Abandoned home in Chicago.

Abandoned home in Chicago.  A difference is the windows are boarded up.


North Lawndale

Auburn Gresham

Back of the Yards


Comparing Chicago’s Deteriorating Neighborhoods to Detroit’s — 30 Comments

  1. **That party’s officials have been in control since the 1930’s.**

    LOL – who knew folks like Edgar and Ryan were Democrats? The original comments was about Illinois, not Chicago. And if you really think that Chicago is like Detroit, I have no idea what to you.

    As for the rest of it – that is just silly. Random pictures of houses tells us nothing. At all.

  2. Please take some time to look at the photos taken in each of the identified neighborhoods in both Detroit and Chicago.

  3. Average income in Chicago is 120% higher than Detroit ($25k to $60k).

    Average home price is 500% higher than Detroit ($37k to $189K).

    Unemployment rate, Detroit: 10.2%

    Unemployment rate, Chicago: 6.5%

    Should I keep going?

  4. (and sorry, that should say median, not average, income and home price)

  5. Go git’em, Cal. When you are right – you are right.

    Mr. Shake is suffering from cognitive dissonance.

  6. Thanks for adding to the conversation Cindy.

    Its always so insightful AND delightful.

  7. Trust me, given 10 more years of citywide control by Democrats, Chicago will WISH it was Detroit…

  8. Without inspecting the two houses, the Chicago house if the price was right would be the better deal.

  9. Detroit is worse than Chicago on a per capita basis for violent crime and murder.

    Detroit does not have as diversified economy as Chicago.

    It was heavily dependent on automotive manufacturing, and a lot of that went to the suburbs, and a lot was lost to foreign competition.

    There are huge areas in Detroit with nothing, blocks of houses totally gone, demolished, it is surreal.


    There is no good reason for Chicago and Illinois to be in the financial mess it is in.

    It’s a mess created by politicians performing all sorts of games.

    A lot of those games were politicians and special interest groups colluding, and one of those major special interest groups, but far from the only, was unions.


    Many games were played with pensions.

    This continues to happen.

    A centerpiece of Democrat for County Board Chair Jack Franks’ campaign is cutting property taxes for every taxing district in McHenry County by 10%.

    What exactly does that mean?

    Cut taxes 10% in fiscal year 2017?

    In fiscal year 2018?

    Cut taxes 10% by the end of 10 years from now?

    Irregardless, it’s an absurd goal given the current political climate in Illinois and Jack Franks’ refusal to enact proposals in the Rauner administration Turnaround Agenda (he called Governor Rauner a union buster).


    Here is what Jack Franks says on

    “I’m running for McHenry County Board Chairman to cut property taxes levy by 10% across the board.

    This means a 10% property tax levy reduction from EVERY government body in our County.”

    We can finally give relief to local property taxpayers if we eliminate government waste and fraud and more efficiently manage tax dollars.

    Join me in sending a message to McHenry County leaders in support of this 10% cut.”


    Here are some problems with cutting property taxes 10%:

    – underfunded pensions.

    – underfunded retiree healthcare

    – collective bargaining agreements

    – bond debt service (principal and interest payments)


    Here are more problems with cutting property taxes 10%.

    These are all concepts the Turnaround Agenda attempts to address:

    – Workers compensation

    – Unemployment insurance

    – Lawsuits can be filed in a county where a company does business irregardless if the company has an office in that county.

    – PA 98-1132 was a trial lawyer initiative (Rep Franks is a trial lawyer whom voted yes on the bill) that reduced jurors in civil cases from 12 to 6; a Cook County judge shot down that reduction but the decision is being appealed.

    – Joint & several liability

    – Medical expense awards based on billings not payments

    – Mandated fees to unions as a condition of employment (no freedom of choice)

    – prevailing wages

    – project labor agreements (PLA)

    – State legislators and governors (state legislation) dictate local pension benefits (fire, police, municipal) although the pensions are largely funded by local.

    – Illinois has no bankruptcy provision for local units of governments, over 1/2 of states do have some form of bankruptcy provision for local governments

    – Local voters should have right to determine if property taxes increase by referendum (Franks calls for a 10% decrease and we don’t know if that includes a referendum because he wont’ tell us until after the election)

    – 10 year term limits on members of the General Assembly

    – Make Illinois state law comparable to Federal law prohibiting mandatory fees to a union as a condition of employment. This is a freedom of choice issue. The unions call these fair share fees.

    – Prohibit unions from contributing to their political bosses including mayors and school boards. For example contractors with over $50,000 in state contracts cannot contribute to the campaign of an officeholder that awards such contracts.

    – After a certain date, all pension contributions go to reduced Tier II benefits. Tier 1 benefits would be protected. Now, one of every four state dollars goes to pensions. The $111 billion unfunded liability often quoted is for state (TRS, SERS, SURS, GARS, JRS) pensions only and does not include local police, fire, IMRF, Cook County, Chicago, and mass transit pensions.

  10. One other point.

    The pension reform idea of moving all current benefits earned for all existing workers to Tier II benefits would not impact the current unfunded pension liabilities.

    The current unfunded pension liabilities are for services already rendered.

  11. That could be worded better.

    The pension reform idea of moving all future benefits earned for all existing workers to Tier II benefits would not impact the current unfunded pension liability.

    In other words, pick a cut-off date, say January 1, 2017, after which all benefits earned for all workers would be Tier II benefits.

  12. Mark?

    I think you miss a lot of points because your head is so wrapped up in all your statistics.

    I think people are a little donereading your never-ending posts.

    You’re smart.

    We get it.

    Can you please stop pounding your numbers so hard?

    You would do well to advise board members instead of the hoi polloi on this blog.

  13. **Detroit is worse than Chicago on a per capita basis for violent crime and murder.

    Detroit does not have as diversified economy as Chicago.

    It was heavily dependent on automotive manufacturing, and a lot of that went to the suburbs, and a lot was lost to foreign competition.

    There are huge areas in Detroit with nothing, blocks of houses totally gone, demolished, it is surreal.**

    When Mark and I agree…

  14. **Watch the video. Not much law and order.**

    Allen – not quite how that’s relevant to the discussion. Showing a news story of what you call the lack of “law and order” doesn’t actually speak whether or not Chicago and Detroit are the same.

    Allen – lets hope that you make policy decisions based on facts and data rather than random stories and anecdotes.

  15. Whackamole?

    Surely you don’t really believe that Wikipedia is anything you can actually rely on?

    They have a reputation for gravitas about a hair above Snopes!

  16. **Surely you don’t really believe that Wikipedia is anything you can actually rely on?**

    Wait, Cindy – do you disagree with wikipedia’s definition of anecdotal evidence?

    How would you define it?

    **Wikipedia = anecdotal LOL**

    Umm… to quote a wonderful movie, “You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

  17. Are you seriously going to argue with an English major?

    Get real, alabama.

    In my prime I could easily ensepulcher you in words you have never even heard of.

    Go pick on someone your own size.

  18. **ensepulcher**

    Oooh… I’m impressed.

    But you still don’t appear to know what anecdotal evidence is.

  19. It is whatever you would like it to be.

    Stop being a jerk.

    You didn’t provide ANY evidence of what your belief is on the subject.

    You lost your argument.

    You are throwing red herrings now.


  20. In terms of the neighborhoods / crime, Detroit is is worse than Chicago.

    The per capita crime statistics indicate this.

    Another way is to drive the area and talk to people.

    Detroit is a 6 hour drive.

    Or look at Google Maps / Street View / Earth.


    Look at the Detroit (city website) and Chicago (private website, couple people just started a website) websites for demolitions. > Projects > Demolition Tracker


    Check out the US Department of Treasury Hardest Hit Fund


    The financial problems of Illinois can still be fixed.

    But every day that goes by without substantial fixes, the hole gets deeper, the more pain involved in solving the problem.

    There are a number of ways to get out of the hole.

    Politically, all of these are difficult to impossible at this particular moment in time.

    For example, create a state law to permit municipal / taxing district bankruptcies.

    What’s better, bankrupting a municipality or its residents?

    Bankruptcy would be a hedge against the politician / special interest cartels where they believe it’s possible to dump unlimited taxes / fees / revenue generation schemes on taxpayers.

    For example, allow Chicago Public Schools to go bankrupt.


    In Illinois, there are worse areas than Chicago in various categories.

    For crime, East St. Louis.

    For bleak job outlook, Cairo.

    For property taxes, the near south Cook County suburban area (Southland) of Ford Heights, Chicago Heights, Park Forest, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Markham, Phoenix, Riverdale, Country Club Hills, Sauk Village, Glenwood, Blue Island, and Dolton.

  21. Alabamasnake: Please move to Detroit and make McHenry County a better place.

    People like you ruined America.

  22. Alabamasnake is Allen Akillicorn’s fake name.

    It’s when he wants to pretend he’s someone else.

    But I assume you’re talking about me.

    So thanks OldMan.

    You and Cindy – always equally insightful and delightful.

  23. Alabamashake:

    I highly suggest you read David Maraniss’ “Detroit: Once in a Great City,” which was published around this time last year.

    He’s a lib, like you.

    Maraniss, who wrote a biography on Barack Obama, focuses not on the 1967 riots, but the period when Detroit seemed poised to join Chicago, NYC, and LA as a top-tier American city.

    Hosting the 1968 Summer Olympics seemed likely, Motown was the cutting edge of American popular music, 1963 was a record-setting year for the Big Three automakers, and the Ford Mustang was introduced.

    Martin Luther King marched in Detroit and was not greeted with scorn, as in the South, or by hostile indifference, which was Mayor Daley’s tact in Cyicago.

    A liberal Democrat in the mold of John F. Kennedy was Detroit’s mayor and a progressive judge was in charge of its police force.

    But Detroit fell apart anyway.

    Oh, Cal didn’t say Chicago is Detroit, it is turning into Detroit.

    Right now the present residents and tourists are living off the largess produced by earlier generations.

    As for Maraniss, he barely mentions two things that greatly contributed to Detroit’s fall.

    A municipal income tax and a commuter tax.

    While pols in Chicago are suggesting those as “cures” for Chicago’s decline, all you need to do is substitute unionized-government-worker-pensions for those taxes and we’ll have pretty much the same thing when all is said and done, circa 2030.

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