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Rahm Emanuel


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Community Activists Turn Attention To Chicago’s TIF Program In Light Of CPS Budget Cuts

As local public schools begin to grapple with devastating budget cuts, community activists from across the city continue to put the spotlight on Chicago’s tax increment financing (TIF) program.

Since its inception in 1986, the city’s TIF program has raked in about $5 billion in property tax dollars. Of that money, $2.7 billion was diverted from the school district.

In return, Chicago’s TIF program looks to spur economic development in blighted areas by providing subsidies to companies for projects, such as housing complexes or a shopping center. TIF money has also been used for school building construction projects.

But at a recent TIF town hall meeting, Rogers Park residents criticized the program, saying it has done little to generate economic development in the 49th Ward and other struggling communities across the city.

“We need to end the TIF program,” said 49th Ward resident Don Olson at the CivicLab’s TIF forum held at Loyola Park last week.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jun 26, 2013

Emanuel Introduces Assault Weapons Ban, Student Safety Measure At Busy Council Meeting

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s city council meeting that looks to ban the import, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the city.

The move comes in response to the concealed carry legislation the Illinois General Assembly passed last month that is currently awaiting action from Gov. Pat Quinn.

State lawmakers are required to come up with new legislation by a July 9 deadline following a federal court ruling back in December that struck down Illinois’ concealed carry ban. The deadline was extended from June 9 to July 9 to give Gov. Quinn more time to consider the bill once it passed.

Under the proposed statewide concealed carry legislation, HB 183, sponsored by State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), Illinois municipalities will have 10 days after the bill is signed to pass a new or updated assault weapons measure.

The Chicago Police Department is making a “strong effort” to bring down gun-related crimes and violence in the city in part by putting more police on the streets and getting “kids, guns and drugs” off of them, Emanuel said in remarks after the meeting.

“It is essential that we make sure we do everything to bring safety to all our communities and neighborhoods throughout the city,” Emanuel said. “The assault weapon ban, and making sure it’s comprehensive, is part of that overall strategy — bringing safety throughout our streets.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Jun 26, 2013

CPS Blames Deficit On IL Pension Crisis As Protesters Blast Budget Cuts At Board Of Ed Meeting (VIDEO)

More than 200 protesters picketed outside the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters Wednesday morning, condemning massive school closings and “devastating” proposed budget cuts derived from the district’s new per-student budgeting system.

Meanwhile, during a Chicago Board of Education meeting later the same morning, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett cited Illinois’ “unsustainable” pension crisis as the “main driver” of the district’s $1 billion budget deficit.

Forty-eight school closures and more than 850 teacher layoffs were rolled out during the last two weeks of classes across the district, with the actions attributed to CPS' staggering budget shortfall.

“The deficit is real, and the challenges it presents to our district and our classrooms are real,” said Byrd-Bennett in her presentation before the Chicago Board of Education.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Jun 25, 2013

CPS Parents Host Candlelight Vigil For Closing East Humboldt Park Schools (VIDEO)

“We’re here today mourning the death of our school,” said Magdalene Thurmond, a mother of two Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who attended their last day of classes at Ana Roque de Duprey Elementary School on Monday.

As students filed out of the building for the last time, Thurmond was one of roughly 20 parents and staff members who gathered for a candlelight vigil outside of the closing school.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Jun 20, 2013

Parents, Students Occupy Lafayette Elementary Classroom On School's Last Day (VIDEO)

Just after final classes let out at Jean D. Lafayette Elementary Wednesday, three parents and their children occupied a classroom for hours in opposition of the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to close the school for good this month.

The up to nine parents and children, some of whom were students at the school, occupied the classroom at about 2:30 p.m. Several police officers were on scene, but no arrests were made. 

More than 50 protestors gathered outside Lafayette to show their solidarity. Education activists linked arms and formed a human chain in front of the school’s entrance.

“We’re not going to stop fighting,” said Windy Pearson, a member of Action Now, outside Lafayette. “We have people who are adamant about what is happening to their schools and to their kids and to our community, and this is just one of the many protests that will go on in regards to these schools.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 18, 2013

Ald. Moreno, Environmental Advocates Call For Plastic Bag Ban At Committee Hearing

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) and a handful of other aldermen want plastic carryout bags banned in Chicago.  

On Tuesday, members of the city council’s Committee on Health and Environmental Protection heard more than two hours of testimony on a plastic bag reduction ordinance, which Moreno first introduced in November 2011.

“Plastic bags of today are the Styrofoam containers of yesterday, and we moved past that,” Moreno said at the hearing.