The Institute for Housing Studies (IHS) at DePaul University has released its Cook County House Price Index for the second quarter of 2016, finding that the "housing recovery lags in many suburban areas."
The Chicago Urban League released a 10-year blueprint Wednesday to undo structural racism in the city and create more equitable education, employment and economic development systems for African-American residents living in the most disadvantaged communities.
Chicago Urban League officials released the plan as the organization commemorates its 100th anniversary.
"Our vision is that by 2026, residents of every community area in Chicago will have access to the services and supports they need not just to succeed, but to really thrive as members of the greater Chicago community," said Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, vice president and executive director of the Chicago Urban League's Research and Policy Center.
"The league's 10-year plan is a focused effort that lays out our commitment to making racial equity a reality. When this happens, it sets the stage for a stronger African-American community and that, in turn, makes a stronger Chicago."
A coalition of early childhood education advocates spoke out Thursday morning against plans at the City Colleges of Chicago to consolidate child development programs to a single location at Harry Truman College in the North Side Uptown neighborhood.
Four Chicago aldermen joined the advocates at a morning press conference before the City Colleges Board of Trustees meeting. Coalition members, including representatives from the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, said consolidating the educational programs could adversely affect early childhood education students living on the city's South and West Sides, where several programs are closing.
"This will have an enormous hardship on students trying to get to the North Side. It will devastate these programs, and it will take needed support services out of these communities," said Tony Johnston, president of the Cook County College Teachers Union, which represents full-time faculty and other City Colleges staffers.
Roughly 20 CPS teachers and parents rallied this afternoon on the West Side outside the now-shuttered Robert Emmet Elementary School. Emmet, located in the Austin neighborhood near the corner of Central Avenue and Madison Street, was closed in 2013 as part of the massive round of 50 school closings.
CPS teacher Tammie Vinson, who worked at Emmet before it closed, is now a special education instructor at nearby Oscar DePriest Elementary School, also in Austin.
Vinson said teachers are hitting the picket lines to call for fair-share revenue solutions to pay for increased education and social service funding.
"The message, really, is tax the rich," she said. "Bring in what we need so that we can fully fund our schools, we can fully fund our communities. We're here now to show the disinvestment on the West Side ... Even when you get to the commercial areas of the West Side, that money doesn't stay in our community. The money that comes here goes right out ... We don't have a firm tax base, so the services that we need are not here."
Chicago's Community Development Commission (CDC) unanimously approved a controversial plan Tuesday to provide a $15.8 million tax increment financing (TIF) subsidy for an upscale apartment complex in Uptown, despite opposition from some local low-income housing advocates.
The $125 million luxury housing development, proposed for the former Columbus Maryville Academy site near the city's lakefront, still needs Chicago City Council approval.
A group of about 30 community activists spoke against the proposal outside of City Hall's council chambers before attending the CDC meeting. The protesters toted signs reading, "No Public Funds For Private Profit." They saw support from Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey and TIF activist Tom Tresser.
"I stand with my Uptown neighbors ... to demand that Mayor Emanuel's rubber stamp not be used one more time by the Community Development Commission to rob the taxpayers of Chicago and send millions of public dollars into private pockets," Tresser, with the TIF Illumination Project, said during public comment at the CDC meeting.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a $36.3 billion budget bill may force the state into a government shutdown, which doesn't sit well with State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC).
"We cannot stand back and allow this to happen," said Lightford, who fought back tears, after learning of the veto. "I don't give a damn how much money he has. He can sit up in his mansion and not be affected, but all of us will feel the pinch. I want to fight. I need all of you all to fight with us. We have to fight this governor."
"Don't confuse my tears as a sign of weakness. I am mad as hell," Lightford added. She made the statements at an ILBC rally against spending cuts proposed under Rauner's Turnaround Agenda. The governor's plan calls for a set of reforms on workers compensation, term limits and a property tax freeze, among other things.
Aspects of Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin's 7-point plan to curb gun violence received mixed reactions at a summit the West Side politician held Saturday. The most contorversial part of the plan involves charging individuals who commit gun crimes as domestic terrorists.
The summit, held at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, was attended by city and county officials as well as academics and community activists. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were invited to the summit, but did not make an appearance. Boykin says the purpose of the summit was "to put meat on the bones" of his plan.
Boykin unveiled the gun violence prevention plan in May after he became concerned about the increasing number of shootings in his West Side district. Since the plan's release, Boykin has come under fire for the concept of charging individuals that shoot a gun, and their accomplices, as domestic terrorists. Boykin did not escape that criticism at Saturday's summit.