Many Chicago aldermen, with support from local organizations, are announcing their plans for the upcoming city council meeting this Wednesday.
From protecting children traveling to school in areas with foreclosed properties to getting rid of the TIF "slush fund" to ensuring stable jobs at Midway and O'Hare airports, the next city council meeting will cover several hot button issues affecting Chicagoans.
Today, leaders with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) met with about 30 aldermen to discuss the ongoing battle surrounding a longer school day for Chicago Public School students as well as merit pay, the alleged disproportionate layoffs of minority teachers, and charter school expansion. CTU leaders also voiced their support for an ordinance that Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) says she will introduce on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Graham announced plans to introduce the Vacant Property Safe Passages ordinance. Members of the community group Action Now are planning to hold a rally tomorrow outside of a vacant East Garfield Park foreclosed property that has been left unsecured, even after a rape and beating took place in the building, after the bank failed to properly secure the grounds.
"The building still threatens the safety of children forced to walk by it as they travel to and from school," explains an announcement for tomorrow's 10 a.m. rally at the property located at 3213 W. Walnut St. "The City of Chicago must hold banks responsible for the willful neglect of their properties and the destruction of communities by swiftly and aggressively enforcing the Vacant Property Ordinance and passing the Vacant Property Safe Passages Ordinance that will be introduced on Wednesday."
Graham's ordinance calls for any foreclosed property within 1,000 square miles of a public school to be manned on school days by a security guard between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Failure to comply would result in fines up to $500.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) is expected to introduce an ordinance on Wednesday, along with several other aldermen, that, if passed, would funnel unused TIF funds back to their respective taxing bodies. Waguespack will introduce the Responsible Budget Ordinance to help ease the financial strain many TIF taxing bodies, like the Chicago Public Schools, are experiencing "without laying off workers, taxing working families, or privatizing any valuable city asset," according to a press release. Tomorrow morning, Waguespack, along with community residents, Grassroots Collaborative, and Aldermen Robert Fioretti (2nd), Joe Moore (49th), and Joe Moreno (1st), will call on the mayor to "get rid of [the] slush fund".
"Chicago’s neighborhoods currently suffer from the economic recession and every tax dollar allocated to neighborhoods this year is a dollar that can fund to preserve basic city services for seniors, children, and parents," reads the release. "It would be irresponsible to let these funds sit idle in TIF accounts while we lay off teachers and other workers who have families that depend on them, and communities that benefit from their service."
The Stable Jobs Stable Airports Ordinance is also expected to be introduced on Wednesday. In light of the new concession contracts the city is making with multi-billion dollar companies for both airports, some 1,500 people stand to potentially lose their jobs, according to Unite Here. Chicago aldermen and community leaders are set to hold a rally at City Hall Wednesday morning before the council meeting in support of the ordinance, according to an announcement; which also pointed out that leaders in several major cities have already created safeguards for employees working at airports in their areas:
While 70% of O’Hare and Midway concessions are controlled by multinational companies based overseas, they have used a loophole to evade Chicago’s 'living wage' for contractors, pocketing millions of dollars that should have gone to Chicago workers and communities.
Around the country 18 other airports – including LAX, JFK, Miami, and Cleveland – have adopted standards to protect workers and communities, ensure smooth operations for travelers, and protect City revenue from disruptions during big contract turnovers.
Now Chicago Aldermen are calling on concession companies looking for contracts at Chicago’s airports to respect Chicago communities by ensuring job stability, living wages, and labor peace by introducing the Stable Jobs Stable Airports ordinance.