From the Chicago Tribune: Aldermen question fine print of Emanuel budget, but lift isn’t as heavy this time

Mayor Rahm Emanuel presents his 2017 budget to the Chicago City Council Tuesday Oct. 11, 2016 at City Hall.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)

The following article appeared in the Chicago Tribune on October 14, 2016. While it focuses on the City Council Budget hearings, there is mention of a proposal to create a neighborhood investment fund with an advisory council consisting of 2 aldermen and 3 community members. We encourage our members to contact Alderman Scott, Treasurer Summers and Mayor Emmanuel, urging them to include the North Lawndale community as one of the targeted communities, with representation from North Lawndale on the advisory council.  That would mean either having Alderman Scott serve as one of the Aldermen, or a local North Lawndale resident or stakeholder serving as one of the committee representatives. Contact information is as follows:
Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. 773-533-2400
Treasurer Kurt Summers 312.744.3356
Mayor Rahm Emanuel 312-744-3300
Photo of Mayor Rahm Emanuel from Chicago Tribune files.
John Byrne Contact Reporter Chicago Tribune

The mayor’s nibbling at various targeted fee increases, sure. There’s a rejiggering of the amusement tax to get more money out of people buying sports and concert tickets on the secondary market, and a couple of street parking increases that will hit drivers in loading zones in a few wards and at meters around Wrigley Field during Cubs games and other events there. Plus, he’s pitching a 7-cent tax on plastic bags provided to shoppers by stores.

He’s also proposing a thus-far-nebulous neighborhood investment program aimed at helping him shed his reputation for focusing spending on downtown rather than struggling working-class areas of Chicago. Aldermen, who fight and claw for such discretionary money to find its way into their wards, are going to try to make sure during the hearings that they have as much say as possible about how the $100 million in the Community Catalyst Fund trickles out from Emanuel’s office. More

THE WATCHDOGS: Daley aiming for $15 million green-card bonanza

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his son are aiming to cash in on a federal program that offers green cards to wealthy foreigners with a deal that could bring their company $15 million, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Tur Partners — which Daley formed with his son Patrick Daley after leaving office — is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to solicit $150 million from foreign investors to help finance construction of a downtown skyscraper through a controversial visa program known as EB-5. More


Connecting Cook County: A Long Range Transportation Plan

The Cook County Transportation Plan, Connecting Cook County, was released over the summer. The following post is from the Cook County website. To view the Cook County Connections Newsletter, Fall 2016, please click here.

President’s Corner

Toni Preckwinkle

Message from President Preckwinkle:

To the Residents of Cook County:

From roads and canals, to railways and airplanes, advances in transportation have shaped our nation and driven our economic presence in the world. Cook County’s economic health depends in no small part on our ability to provide systems that reduce the transportation costs for our families and businesses and improve commerce by more efficiently getting people to jobs and goods to markets. Transportation is an investment in our economic future.

In Cook County, we have the distinct advantage of being at the center of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. With two major airports, ten interstate expressways, and the largest freight hub in the nation, our transportation system is one of our region’s most important assets—key not only to our economic prosperity, but to the well-being of our residents. Yet, in the 70 years since the County’s last strategic transportation plan, the commitment and investment in our infrastructure has declined. Our transportation system has aged and fallen behind those of similar regions across the globe.

For too long, Cook County sat back while others made decisions affecting our residents and businesses. It’s time Cook County not only had a seat at the table, but also played a leadership role in creating a modern transportation system that meets changing consumer needs and responds to the demands of a twenty-first century economy.

Cook County has more than half of the metropolitan region’s population, jobs, and businesses and is uniquely vested in the health and sustainability of our transportation system. For these same reasons, we are also uniquely positioned to lead the charge.

Connecting Cook County is a call to action—a framework to promote the strategic partnerships and investments that strengthen our economy and lead to more livable communities.

Connecting Cook County includes input from the public and private sectors, issue experts, and community members who rely on our transportation system every day. It will allow us to achieve a better understanding of our current


Toni Preckwinkle, President
Cook County Board of Commissioners


Executive Summary

UCAN’s YOUTH PEACE SUMMIT (Youth Invitation)‏

UCAN and St. Pauls United Church of Christ cordially invite the 13-19 year-old members of your congregation/organization to participate in the 2016 Youth Peace Summit, an informative and engaging gathering about violence prevention, on Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at UCAN’s Nichols Center, 3605 W. Fillmore St. in Chicago.

A diverse group of youth leaders from around Chicagoland will gather to participate in youth-led workshops that focus on several important issues of the day that impact and involve our youth virtually no matter where they live or attend school. That day, we will focus on:

· Youth leadership development
· Implementing violence prevention strategies in communities
· Improving race and cultural relationships
· Putting our faith into action
· How to pursue and choose peace in our lives
· Developing healthy and wholesome relationships

Our goal is to share ideas, solutions and experiences that enable our youth to support each other and work in concert with others to address and prevent violence. Each year, 200 Chicago youth ages 10-25 are killed by gunfire, with vastly disproportionate numbers of African American a Hispanic children and teens killed. The social costs of gun violence in Chicago are estimated at $2.5 billion per year, or $2,500 per household. Moreover, it costs more than $70,000 per capita per year to incarcerate a juvenile offender in Illinois.

Lunch will be served and students will earn service hours for attending. As in past years, the summit is a prelude to the 2017 Polar Peace March that will kick off at St. Pauls on Sunday, January 15, 2017. In 2016, the second annual march brought together more than 400 Chicagoans of all ages and races to participate in the silent 1.5-mile march to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and promote peace. The culturally diverse participants secured pledges and contributions of more than $52,000, which impressively exceeded the fundraising goal and will support the Peace Hub. UCAN is the lead agency in the Peace Hub, which fosters collaboration among social service providers and uses a sophisticated data tracking system to ensure at-risk youth receive the support the need to thrive.

We ask that your respond by October 21, 2016 by calling or sending an e-mail to Maryam Sousan at (773) 243-7629 or We look forward to you and the youth in your congregation joining us on November 5 for what will be an engaging and enlightening youth-lead gathering about important matters that impact us all.

Maryam Sousan
External Affairs

Chicago Sun-Times Editorial: How insiders work toxic deals for taxpayers

The following editorial ran in the Chicago Sun-Times on October 11, 2016. Photo of warehouse in Little Village by Leslie Adkins/Chicago Sun-Times.

Allow us today to discuss two realities of life and how they can go all wrong in Chicago.

1] When money for city employee pensions is blown on a bad investment, retirees don’t get smaller pensions. Those pensions are guaranteed. You, the Chicago taxpayer, must make up the difference. So you would hope the people who pick and choose pension fund investments are incredibly diligent. But this is Chicago.

2] Sometimes the city gives a big property tax break to a developer who promises to create new jobs. Nothing wrong with that. But you would hope that enough new jobs are created to justify the tax break. But, again, this is Chicago. More

From the Chicago Sun-Times-WATCHDOGS: Taxpayers may be out $8M on site tied to Daley nephews

The following story ran in the Chicago Sun-Times on October 9, 2016. Photo of Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson from Sun-Times files.

Tim Novak

Over the past nine years, two nephews of former Mayor Richard M. Daley have been involved in separate plans to redevelop a rundown warehouse on 15 acres of polluted land in Little Village just north of the Stevenson Expressway.

It hasn’t turned out well for Chicago taxpayers. First, taxpayers have to make up for $4.2 million in city pension money invested on behalf of teachers, police officers and other city workers that ended up squandered on failed development plans involving Daley’s oldest nephew, Robert G. Vanecko. Now, taxpayers stand to lose another $4.1 million on the same property at 3348 S. Pulaski Rd. That’s the amount of a property-tax break given to a second redevelopment deal for the site. More