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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:40pm
Thu Aug 1, 2013

Fire Sprinkler Proposal Sparks Outcry At Chicago Town Hall Meeting (UPDATED)

Chicago residents vehemently voiced objections to the state fire marshal’s proposal to require all residential high-rise buildings to install fire sprinkler systems within the next 12 years at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.

The costs associated with implementing the water sprinklers are just too much to bear, far North Side residents said at the fire code meeting, hosted by State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) at Loyola University’s Cueno Hall.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:24pm
Tue Jul 30, 2013

Activists Call On CHA To Develop Plans For Increased Public Housing (VIDEO)

Housing activists are calling on the Chicago Housing Authority's (CHA) Board of Commissioners to refrain from considering proposals that sell or swap portions of vacant land to various entities, such as the city of Chicago. The land, protesters said, should instead be used to replace public housing that has been torn down under the agency’s Plan for Transformation.

Gathered outside of CHA’s downtown headquarters Monday, roughly 30 activists criticized proposed development plans, such as tennis courts and a retail facility, on CHA-owned vacant land formerly occupied by public housing.

“There’s no plan to replace the housing that we know of,” said Roderick Wilson, executive director of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, and organizer of the protest. “When the CHA came up with this Plan for Transformation to demolish public housing and to rebuild and transform it, they promised replacement housing that wouldn’t concentrate poverty. But where is it?”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
4:19pm
Thu Jul 18, 2013

Local Groups Voice Displeasure With Kirk's Votes On Nominations

Two local groups have voiced their displeasure with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) votes on the nominations of Mel Watt for the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Gina McCarthy for the job of administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Quick Hit
by
1:36pm
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Op-Ed: Urban Agenda, 'Now Go Out and Make Me Do It' - Facade of Recovery Hides Broad Failures in Urban Areas

The following was written by Dick Simpson, former Chicago alderman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

American cities and metropolitan regions are in crisis. Suburbs as well as inner cities.

At Operation PUSH’s International Convention on July 7th, scholars, pubic officials, civil rights leaders, and citizens met to hammer out a new urban and metropolitan agenda to meet this crisis. There has not been a national urban agenda since the Carter administration three decades ago. The Office of Urban Affairs that President Obama opened when he went to the White House has been impotent.

Consider the magnitude of our urban problems. 500 hospitals have closed in the last two decades while three out of four urban emergency rooms are at or over capacity. Our health is at stake.

Not only is Chicago closing 50 public schools but in 2010 public school districts across the country closed 1,929 schools. Charter and private schools are growing instead. Meanwhile, college student loan debts exceed $1 trillion; the average graduating student owes $27,000. Our education system is failing.

There are more African-American adult males in prison, jail, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. Prisons have been privatized and we have a now prison-industrial complex housing too many of our residents.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
11:07am
Fri Jul 12, 2013

Wage Against the Machine: Chicagoans Demand Minimum Wage Increase

On Thursday afternoon, a group of protesters converged outside of the James R. Thompson Center to continue the call for a raise of Illinois’ minimum wage.

At the rally, speakers from policy groups including Stand Up! Chicago, Action Now, and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability urged state lawmakers and business owners to work together to increase the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour. Illinois’ rate is the fourth-highest in the nation, behind Vermont, Oregon and Washington. Gov. Pat Quinn supports an increase to the minimum wage, calling for 20 percent increase to the wage during his State of the State address in February. Meanwhile, a bill proposed back in 2011 (SB 1565) has yet to be voted on.

The ralliers argued that cost of living increases since the last time Illinois raised its minimum wage — which was phased in from 2006 to 2010 — need to be accounted for. Elizabeth Parisian, policy director for Stand Up! Chicago, said a two-parent, two-child family would have to earn just over $69,000 annually to make ends meet, and a one-parent, one-child household would have to earn just under $49,000 to sustain themselves in the current economy. Parisian said Stand Up! Chicago is asking the state to increase the minimum wage to $10.60 per hour.

“Low wage and minimum wage workers need a raise. And so any effort to bump their pay is good for the economy,” said Parisian, who also argued that workers will spend more if their income levels rise.

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