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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Sep 26, 2014

South Siders Question TIF Use In Chicago's 21st Ward

South Side residents were shocked to learn at a Thursday night community meeting that the six active tax increment financing (TIF) districts in Chicago's 21st Ward had more than $1.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013.

The Chicago-based CivicLab revealed that TIF finding and relevant information at a meeting held at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in Roseland.

The $1.6 million in unspent funds would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the school and park districts, were it not for the city’s controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in “blighted” areas.

The non-profit CivicLab launched its TIF Illumination Project, which highlights how the city's TIF program works at the ward level, back in February 2013. The group has held 30 community TIF meetings thus far

Many South Siders at the meeting said they were unaware of the private projects that got TIF money in the 21st Ward, including a Home Depot and the Chatham Market shopping center that received a $32 million TIF subsidy. 

"I think a lot of people have been getting a raw deal," Leatha Patton, a 21st Ward resident of more than 42 years, told Progress Illinois after the event. "These are things that the alderman should make you aware of. We should know how it works, and who gets what."

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
Wed Apr 23, 2014

Chicago Environmentalists Take Fight To Doorstep Of 'Worst Corporate Polluters'

Grassroots groups from all over Chicago’s progressive landscape came together for a Climate Convergence on Earth Day, chanting for environmental and economic justice. The activists marched to corporations they say are the worst environmental offenders to deliver cease-and-desist orders, including Boeing Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank, and the British Petroleum oil company.

“If we do not have immediate change, we will face climate catastrophe by 2050,’’ said Jackie Spreadbury, an organizer with Global Climate Convergence Chicago. She called for people, planets and peace over profits as the rally began in front of the State of Illinois Center Tuesday, The event included speeches and protest songs like “This Land is Your Land’’ and original songs tailored to the event.

“The forces against us are strong, so fight not just these ten days, but every day,’’ she said, referring to the 10 days of action GCC has scheduled through May 1, or May Day. The May Day event is a march from the historically significant Haymarket Square to the ICE building on Congress Street to fight for immigration rights. Click through for more details and check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of Chicago's May Day events.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Feb 21, 2013

AFSCME Joins Shareholder Coalition Calling For Independent Chairperson At JP Morgan Chase

Saying it “weakens a corporation’s governance” and can “harm shareholder value,” overseers of government worker pension funds have alleged that one person sharing the role of chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the board at JPMorgan Chase is a conflict of interest.

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Fri Jun 8, 2012

CTA Riders Protest 'Toxic' Bank Deals

Dozens of community activists and angry CTA riders protested bank deals which they claim take money from transit agencies in the lobby of a Chase Bank at 10 S. Dearborn St. Thursday morning.

Pointing to a report released this week titled “Riding the Gravy Train,” which details “toxic swap deals” between Wall Street banks and 12 state governments, the group said nationally taxpayers are losing more than $520 million a year.

That’s money that could be used to stop public transit service cuts or pay for infrastructure repairs, the protesters argued.

Quick Hit
by Aaron Krager
Wed Oct 12, 2011

Take Back Chicago Movement Focuses On Foreclosures, Leads To Arrests

Take Back Chicago continued its weeklong effort yesterday to bring attention to the economic problems facing Chicagoans of all walks of life with multiple events in the Loop focused on the foreclosure crisis. Activists dropped off trash collected at a Garfield Park foreclosed property to the Bank of America headquarters downtown, while another group delivered a check to Chase Bank for the cost of cleaning up one of their neighborhood's vacant properties.

Protesters with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) also made their voices heard at a national meeting of mortgage bankers. Arrests occurred during at least protests throughout the day.