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Rahm Emanuel

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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:52am
Mon Aug 26, 2013

The CivicLab Illuminates Oak Park's TIF Program

Oak Park’s tax increment financing (TIF) program may operate on a smaller scale compared to the city of Chicago’s controversial economic development program, but it too has major transparency and accountability flaws, suburban residents said at a town hall meeting Sunday. 

The three TIF districts in Oak Park sucked up $164 million in property tax revenue since their inception up until the end of 2012, according to an analysis by the CivicLab, a Chicago-based non-profit focused on providing citizens with data and tools for civic engagement.

In 2012 alone, Oak Park’s three TIF districts took in $10.6 million in tax revenue, and the village spent almost $7 million of that money, the CivicLab found.

“I hope somewhere there is a spreadsheet that tells you what (the village) did with that money, and if there isn’t, you need to go get it, in my opinion,” the CivicLab’s co-founder Tom Tresser told about 15 community members at the meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:49pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Education Activists Call For CPS Boycott (VIDEO)

A group of Chicago education activists are hoping thousands of students take part in an August 28 boycott of a school system, they say, is acting as a destabilizing force in low-income communities of color.

Next Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, which has proposed some $68 million in school budget cuts. Next Wednesday is also the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech calling for equality for African Americans. The March on Washington was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history.

“Part of our democracy is speaking up when you are being dealt an injustice, part of our history in this country is being able to peacefully express your frustration when policies do not treat you right,” said Jitu Brown, an education organizer for the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). “Young people will definitely get a lesson in representative democracy on this day.”

At a press conference on Thursday outside of the mayor’s office, Brown and approximately 50 education activists announced plans for the city-wide, one-day school boycott. The group also plans to stay away from the Chicago Board of Education meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:24pm
Wed Aug 21, 2013

Experts: New Chicago Food Desert Numbers Not As 'Rosy' As Emanuel Says

Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the population of food deserts in Chicago declined 21 percent over the past two years thanks to 15 new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts. But those working on the ground to combat food-access issues in Chicago say the new numbers are not as sweet as they appear.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:46pm
Tue Aug 20, 2013

Town Hall Meeting Calls For 'A New Roseland', Increased Access To Health Care (VIDEO)

Jessicia Morris (pictured right) said if she hadn’t been able to go to Roseland Community Hospital for medical treatment when she was shot in 2010, she probably would have lost her leg — or worse.

“Doctors said I made it to the hospital just in time,” said the 21 year–old former gang member who was shot in the knee at the age of 17. “My knee-cap was shattered and I lost a lot of blood. They said I was about to lose my leg, or I wouldn’t have been able to walk again.”

Morris was born and raised in Chicago’s often embattled Far South Side neighborhood of Roseland, and said she joined the Black Disciples gang at the age of 13.

“All we see out here is violence,” she said. “I didn’t know I could do anything else.”

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
1:49pm
Mon Aug 19, 2013

TIFs Are for Kids! Logan Square Rally Calls For More School Funding (VIDEO)

Like thousands of other children in Chicago, Nidalis Burgos is preparing to go back to school next week. But this year is different for Burgos: the 15 year-old Lincoln Park High School student doesn’t know any of her teachers.

Budget cuts at the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) led to the removal of teachers she’s grown to know, and now Burgos said her class schedule is filled with unfamiliar names. In an attempt to convince Mayor Rahm Emanuel to declare a tax increment financing (TIF) surplus and restore the budget funds, Burgos joined about 200 parents, students, teachers and elected officials for a rally Sunday at Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:45pm
Fri Aug 16, 2013

Local School Councils Continue Opposition To CPS Budget Cuts

With just 10 days left until students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district head back to class, a number of local school councils (LSC) across the city have not yet approved their schools’ budget for next year.

“LSCs are elected officials and we have obligations to meet our third party contracts. We have obligations to provide our children with the highest quality education,” said Kate Schott Bolduc, head of the Common Sense Coalition of LSCs For Fair Funding and community representative on the LSC for James G. Blaine Elementary School. “The money allocated to us by CPS doesn’t allow us to do our job.”

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