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Rahm Emanuel
Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:29pm
Wed Oct 24, 2012

Chicago City Council: School Closing Hearing Will Be Held, Homeless Population Questioned

The Chicago City Council will hold hearings on what are rumored to be 80 to 120 neighborhood school closings, according to Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), head of the council's education committee.

Thomas, who as education chairperson must convene such a panel, has previously been silent on a resolution signed by 32 aldermen calling for a school closing hearing. She told Progress Illinois that she would “absolutely” hold such a hearing. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:20pm
Tue Oct 16, 2012

City Staffing, Promised Savings Scrutinized In Emanuel Budget

The Chicago City Council started this morning four days of hearings that will examine the proposed 2013 budget that Mayor Rahm Emanuel released last week.

At a community meeting on the Northwest Side last night Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said that, “The annual budget is the most important aspect of public policy. It tells us who we are as a city.”

Perhaps to the chagrin of Fioretti, Chicago is a city that mostly lets the mayor write the budget. Unlike the U.S. Congress or Illinois General Assembly, the 50-member city council essentially plays an advisory role.

The public also played a small role under previous mayors through community hearings, but Emanuel scrapped those this year. So a group of six aldermen representing the council’s progressive caucus held a public forum last night that attracted about 200 people. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
5:12pm
Mon Oct 15, 2012

Ravitch Says CTU Strike Was Galvanizing Moment For Teachers

Diane Ravitch, who was assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush and then became a national spokeswoman against the so-called education reform movement, says that Chicago has taken the lead on education reform – and the revolt against such policies.

Now a professor at New York University, Ravitch told reporters at the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters Monday that the strike gave “vicarious exhilaration” to teachers across the nation that were “beaten down” by evaluations based on standardized tests and charter schools.

Ravitch says Chicago is distinctive on education issues because of a “more militant” teachers' union, noting that in much of the south, west and now to an extent in northern states such as Wisconsin, “Teacher collective bargaining rights are eliminated.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:27pm
Wed Oct 10, 2012

Why Is Emanuel Touting 'No New Taxes'?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented his 2013 budget to the city council today, profusely emphasizing that the budget contains no new taxes.

“This is a budget that allows us to make critical investments by reforming government instead of raising taxes,” Emanuel said in a statement. “As I pledged, we will not raise sales taxes; we will not raise the fuel tax; we will not raise the amusement tax.”

So are no new taxes a good thing? Read more »

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:16pm
Wed Sep 26, 2012

Buyer, Clean-Up Plans Still Unknown For Chicago Coal Plant Sites

A mayoral task force released a report Saturday with broad guidelines for how to redevelop the site of two Chicago coal-fired power plants on the Southwest Side that shut down in August. A main recommendation was that the sites be used to create local jobs in non-polluting industries.

Community advocates who live in the Pilsen neighborhood, the site of the closed Fisk plant, and Little Village, home of the shuttered Crawford plant, credit Mayor Rahm Emanuel not just for working with Midwest Generation company to shut down the plants, but also for using a task force to spark community dialogue.

“Usually task forces are where something goes to be forgotten,” says Nelson Soza, executive director of Pilsen Alliance and a member of the task force. “But this task force raised the profile of these sites.”

However, the panel did not weigh in on a central concern of community residents: who will take on remediation, i.e. the process of cleaning up the industrial site. The report reads that, “The issue of remediation was discussed by the Task Force, but the Task Force was unable to reach consensus on a recommendation for further action.” Read more »