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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:40pm
Thu Aug 28

Study: Businesses In Low-Income, Majority Minority Areas Struggle To Access Credit

Small businesses in low-income, majority minority neighborhood in the Chicago area were less likely to receive loans between 2008 and 2012, according to a new report by the Woodstock Institute.

On average, about two of every seven businesses in low-income, majority minority areas received small business loans—including business credit cards, lines of credit, and traditional loans of under $1 million—from large financial institutions with assets of more than $1 billion, according to the report, “Dis-Credited: Disparate Access to Credit for Businesses in the Chicago Six County Region.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:52am
Thu Aug 28

Southwest Side Chicagoans Question TIF Use In 23rd Ward (UPDATED)

Residents of Chicago's 23rd Ward raised concerns about the city's tax increment financing (TIF) program after learning Wednesday evening that millions in economic development funds have yet to be spent in their community.

At the CivicLab's TIF town hall meeting at John F. Kennedy High School, Southwest Side community members learned that the six TIF districts located in the 23rd Ward had about $16.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013. Last year alone, the ward's TIF districts collected nearly $2.3 million in property tax revenue, according to the CivicLab's analysis.

Business owner and Southwest Side resident Martin Arteaga, who is running for alderman in the 23rd Ward, attended the meeting.

"There needs to be a lot more clarity and transparency as to where this TIF money is going," he told Progress Illinois. "Here in the 23rd Ward, particularly in the Midway Airport area along Cicero Avenue, you have a bunch of empty lots. We could use some of that money to redevelop that area and actually be able to expand our tax base, because we have thousands of people who pass through going to Midway Airport. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
8:41pm
Wed Aug 27

Chicago-Area Activists, Families Call On Holder To Investigate Shootings By Local Police

Demonstrators delivered a letter to Chicago's Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday demanding that United States Attorney General Eric Holder launch an investigation into crimes, they say, have been committed by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The letter calls on Holder to investigate the CPD as a whole, as well as Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and law enforcement in other local municipalities where individuals were either killed or harmed by police.

The demonstrators said the shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American male in Ferguson, Missouri, is part of a larger pattern of police targeting people of color.

“Ninety people have been murdered by Chicago Police officers in the last four years,” said Ted Pearson, a member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR). “Something has to be done to stop this, what’s been going on in Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg.” Read more »