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Northside Action For Justice

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Fri Sep 9, 2016

Chicago Activists To Rally For Education Policy Changes At First Presidential Debate

Education activists from Chicago and other U.S. cities will rally outside the first 2016 presidential debate later this month in Hempstead, New York in hopes that the candidates will embrace their seven-point public education policy agenda.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Tue Jan 12, 2016

Chicago Development Panel Advances Controversial Uptown Housing TIF Project

Chicago's Community Development Commission (CDC) unanimously approved a controversial plan Tuesday to provide a $15.8 million tax increment financing (TIF) subsidy for an upscale apartment complex in Uptown, despite opposition from some local low-income housing advocates.

The $125 million luxury housing development, proposed for the former Columbus Maryville Academy site near the city's lakefront, still needs Chicago City Council approval.

A group of about 30 community activists spoke against the proposal outside of City Hall's council chambers before attending the CDC meeting. The protesters toted signs reading, "No Public Funds For Private Profit." They saw support from Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey and TIF activist Tom Tresser.

"I stand with my Uptown neighbors ... to demand that Mayor Emanuel's rubber stamp not be used one more time by the Community Development Commission to rob the taxpayers of Chicago and send millions of public dollars into private pockets," Tresser, with the TIF Illumination Project, said during public comment at the CDC meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:11pm
Tue Jun 30, 2015

CTU, Allies Protest Outside Municipal Bond Conference, Call For Progressive Revenue Options (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

While the Bond Buyer's Midwest Municipal Market Conference was being held Tuesday at the InterContinental Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue, over a dozen Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members and their allies protested outside the event this morning.

Holding signs reading, "CPS: Broke on Purpose," the education activists were there to highlight controversial financial deals the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has with banks and to call for fair-share revenue options to help tackle the school district's pressing fiscal issues.

Those at the protest, spearheaded by the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), marched in a circle chanting, "Fat cats profit and kids come last. Who pays taxes? The working class."

"There's been numerous long-term financial deals, bond deals, swap deals that have put CPS under a heavy burden of debt," explained CTU organizer Martin Ritter. "They've got bad financial advisers. Many of them are at this conference."  

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:58pm
Thu Jun 19, 2014

CivicLab: Chicago's 48th Ward Had $22 Million In TIF Funds Last Year

Far North Side Chicago residents were shocked to learn that the five active tax increment financing (TIF) districts located in the 48th Ward had $22.3 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the start of 2013, according to city data revealed by the CivicLab at a Wednesday night community meeting.

That money would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, were it not for the city’s controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in “blighted” areas.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:24pm
Tue Feb 25, 2014

Debate Over Luxury Housing Development In Uptown Rages On

An advisory zoning committee for Chicago's 46th Ward signed off on a private developer's request for $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) assistance for a proposed luxury housing complex in Uptown at its monthly meeting Monday night.

The 46th Ward’s Zoning and Development Committee, put in place by Ald. James Cappleman (46th), approved preliminary plans for JDL Development's TIF project despite opposition from low-income housing advocates in the area.

A group of about 30 community activists staged a protest outside of Cappleman's office Monday night before attending the zoning meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. The protestors toted signs reading, "Stop displacing our neighborhood" and "Save Uptown diversity." 

"Cappleman, as alderman over his tenure in office, repeatedly supported gentrification projects that affect the community in ways that force out diversity from Uptown and that have devastating effects on low-income communities and communities of color in Uptown," community activist Ashley Bohrer said at the protest. "Building affordable housing would be the best way to use public money for public services, and that means helping communities that are in the most need." 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:41pm
Mon Feb 24, 2014

Chicago-Area Residents Urge State Lawmakers To Address Social Service 'Crisis' In Illinois

The health and human services system in Illinois is in "crisis," according to Chicago-area residents who pressed state lawmakers at a public forum Friday night to address problems facing social safety net programs.

At the forum held at St. Ita's Church in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, residents provided personal testimony on a number of issues, including understaffed Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) offices and inadequate wages paid to frontline service workers, to name a few.

A coalition of labor and community groups hosted the event, including Alliance for the Community Services, AFSCME Local 2858, IMPRUVE, Northside Action For Justice and SEIU* Local 73.

The coalition specifically wants a wage bump for direct service professionals, more assigned caseworkers in DHS offices and the restoration of Medicaid prescription drug and dental benefits.

State lawmakers in attendance, including Chicago Democrats State Sen. Heather Steans and State Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Greg Harris, all pledged to help bring change and increased funding to Illinois' health and human services system. But the first order of business, the elected officials said, is addressing the state's revenue dilemma.

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