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Archive for October 17th, 2016

Illinois’ Budget Impasse Continues to Impact Investment Earnings

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

Illinois’ Portfolio Reveals Millions in Missed Opportunity for Third Quarter

 

CHICAGO, IL – The state of Illinois could have earned $5.5 million more in investment income in the third quarter of 2016 as a result of the year-long budget impasse, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

“Our goal is to maximize every investment opportunity to get the best return for the state, but planning is difficult without a full-year budget in place,” Frerichs said. “When the Governor and General Assembly reconvene next month, I am hopeful they will find compromise and focus on passing a full-year, balanced budget to minimize further damage and get Illinois back on track.”

Since January 1, 2016, the state of Illinois has earned $47 million, but could have earned $21 million more in investment income. Threats of unplanned fund sweeps and the need to pay court-ordered bills required the treasurer’s office to make short-term investments that prioritized cash availability rather than longer-term, higher-yielding investment opportunities.

A six-month budget was passed on June 30, 2016. With no budget in place for a full-year, the treasurer’s office remains faced with a number of cash management and investment challenges. The treasurer’s office is responsible for managing the state’s investment portfolio, ensuring the liquidity, safety and diversification of investments, and producing earnings at or above industry standards.

Frerichs’ office has increased the 30-day rate of return this year compared to last.

During the budget impasse, thestateincreaseditspositioninshort-term,lower-yieldingassets,suchasovernightinvestmentsandmoneymarketfunds,toensureithadcashavailableincaseofamulti-billion dollarfundsweeporanothercourt-orderedincreaseinbillings.

The analysis compares the state’s overall asset allocation and term maturities each month and compares to March 2015, pre-budget impasse.

Grassroots Collaborative Calls on Governor Rauner Not to Sign Away State’s Legal Rights to Wall Street Banks

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – This week Governor Rauner announced re-arrangement of $600 million of variable-rate state bonds. This particular set of bond deals is connected to complex Wall Street financial deals called interest rate swaps. According to Reuters the administration plans to place the debt with four unnamed banks. While the details of the deal remain unclear, Grassroots Collaborative expresses concern that, as part of the deal with these Wall Street banks, Governor Rauner will follow in the steps of Mayor Emanuel and sign away the state’s right to take legal action around the potentially fraudulent origins of these deals to recover funds. The following is a statement from Grassroots Collaborative:

“Grassroots Collaborative has been working to implement legislative oversight and bring legal action to recover taxpayer funds lost in interest rate swap deals for years. Wall Street bankers lied to states, cities, and school districts across the country about the risk of these deals, likely violating fair dealing rules,” said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. “While we are encouraged that Governor Rauner has listened and is taking some action around the state of Illinois swap agreements, these actions should be transparent and not preclude legal action to recover taxpayer money from Wall Street.”

“Mayor Emanuel terminated Chicago’s interest rate swaps by giving Wall Street banks everything they wanted. This cost the city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools $1.4 billion including $400 million in termination fees. Governor Rauner seems to be using the same playbook as Mayor Emanuel, even down to using the same financial advisors. We must ensure that Governor Rauner’s actions do not have the same disastrous results that we saw in Chicago. Illinois can not afford to give away money that should be going to vital programs and services to Wall Street bankers.” added Myra Glassman, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Healthcare Illinois.  

Background and Timeline: http://grassrootscollaborative.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/SwapDealsTimeline2016.pdf

NAACP National Board OF Directors Establishes Taskforce To Review Quality Education For All Children

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CINCINNATI – The National Board of Directors of the NAACP, a grassroots organization, has listened and is yet listening to the concerns of our members, parents, teachers, and supporters of public education across the country. In support of today’s newly adopted policy regarding public education, Chairman Roslyn M. Brock has convened a special taskforce to make recommendations and lay the foundation for a national stakeholder convening to ensure the following:

  1. Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools;
  2. Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system;
  3. Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate; and,
  4. Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
  5. Consistency with existing NAACP policy on public education.

This taskforce will be chaired by Alice Huffman and include Hazel Dukes, Michael Curry, Gloria Sweet-Love, Derrick Johnson, Scot Esdaile, Da’Quan Love, Robin Williams, Peter Rose, Adora Obi Nweze, James Gallman and Philip Murphy.

This convening will bring together diverse perspectives to gain further knowledge, engage in future debate, and take action. The committee is charged with the responsibility of bringing forward practical recommendations that respond to the urgency of this resolution and the inequities undermining public education.

Are We Forgetting ‘Central Park Five’ and Mr. Donald Trump?

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Rev. Dr. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President, Probation

 

Mr. Donald Trump the Republican presidential candidate, continues to express his inner feeling regarding these African American and Hispanic youth… saying that he still believes them to be guilty! 

Mr. Donald Trump, the 2016, Republican presidential candidate, caused a stir regarding a statement made on “The Central Park Five”, five former New York City teens, four black and one Latino, who in 1989, were falsely accused of gang-raping a white woman jogging in Central Park.  However, this miss-carriage of justice has altered the lives of five people and their families. It also appears that not many portions of mainstream press continue to press Donald Trump in what has now faded into political darkness.

At the height of what might been a matter halted between the courts and the world-courts of opinions, Trump took out several full-page ads in major New York newspapers which in large print read, “Bring back the death penalty! Bring back our police!”

The falsely accused youth convictions were vacated in 2002, when the real culprit, Matias Reyes, confessed to the attack while serving time for multiple murders; DNA collected at the scene proved a match. At this point all five are now grown men and have served their sentences, ranging from seven to 13 years.

It appeared then as now, that Donald Trump’s sentiments toward African Americans and Hispanics remains the same after twenty-seven long-years! Trump the Republican front contender for the white house, continues to express his inner feeling regarding these youth… saying that he still believes them to be guilty!  He told a prominent news station, “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.” Trump, has yet to truly apologize for much of anything!

Noted filmmaker Ken Burns along with his daughter Sarah Burns made a film called: The Central Park Five, which helped to clear the names of all involved. Their action in turn led the city of New York in 2014 to settle a lawsuit filed against it by the men in 2003, awarding them $41 million.

As blacks are historically subjected everyday to being coerced and forced into admission of guilt…little has changed! These youth were lied on and were also lied to when told that if they implicated someone else they would be able to go home. When they finally did, at their parents’ urging, they not only did not go home, they went to jail for between seven and 13 years.

It is reported that each of their “confessions” had the absence of the sixth person — whose DNA was the only DNA found at the scene.

As the eldest, Korey Wise, sat in jail at a maximum security prison, this sociopathic murderer named Matias Reyes, who because of police incompetence went on to murder other people that very same year — a woman and her unborn child, as well as rape other women — he did confess! His DNA matched the DNA, 13 years old, that they had been sitting on unable to match with anyone else. None of the boys’ statements suggested that there was anyone else at the scene of the crime.

What did Trump do back in 1989 to turn public opinion against these five boys?

At the time, Donald Trump took out full-page ads in all of the New York dailies. These daily newspapers included Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post and the Daily News … asking them all to bring back the death penalty.  And, with implicit threats of “Second Amendment remedies” he was essentially asking for these boys who were innocent to be executed!  And today, knowing that he was wrong he continues to hold to this complete fabrication! The public should not forget Donald Trump at the polls!  Check the record!

Many Republicans are finding themselves in a quandary following the release of a video in which Donald Trump makes inappropriate remarks about women. Trump is trying to allow his dollars to form a negative impression within the public’s rank that helps in his campaign.

Spiritually speaking I ask a question: If you have determined that evil has invaded your political home/camp, would you allow it to fester and digest the entire body?  If your right-hand offends you the scripture says to – cut it off!  Would or should Christians voters separate from the very appearance of evil as the word of God has suggested?  Again, the bible says ‘It is better to obey God rather than man’.

Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence suggest that he is proud to be with Trump.  Pence, a stated believer in Christ should take note that the scripture clearly says that the believer should avoid the very appearance of evil! Without question there is no fellowship with unbelievers … and… the scriptures declare: How can two walk together unless they agree! Question: Do they (Trump and Pence) agree to disagree?

Voters should remember that it is the same Donald Trump; on most subject matters has a negative history trailing.  Check the record.

After much fuss over immigrants and other crucial issues, it is reported that Trump’s strong views against immigrants contradict his family history! His father’s parents moved to the United States from Kallstadt, Germany in 1885. Trump lied for many years that they originated from Sweden, because he had many Jewish business partners and “it wasn’t a good thing to be German”.  Check the record.

The man running for the highest seat in the land, has over and over again been proven to be a bare-faced lair … and one not to be trusted with the lives of anyone—especially African Americans and Hispanics… Check the record!  After a close examines of the records your vote should now be a matter of having an honorable intent.

Rev. Harold E. Bailey

Founder and President, Probation Challenge

Contact: 773-978-3706.

 

 

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Eulogy at the Funeral of Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch remarks:

To the pastor and members of the Christian Cultural Center; Governor [Andrew] Cuomo; Mayor [Bill] de Blasio; distinguished guests, too many to name but joined together in grief; to the law enforcement family of New York; and most importantly to Lu-Shawn, Kennedy and Kenny:

I bring you condolences from the Department of Justice family, which shares your sorrow and your grief.  I also bring you condolences from the President, which I will share with this gathering now.

[Reads letter from President Obama]

We in law enforcement have lost one of our brightest lights.  We all know of Ken’s tour de force as district attorney, from his historic victory to his groundbreaking work. Ken literally changed the face of justice in Brooklyn.  He made that face more inclusive, more responsive and more real.  He will always be remembered, and rightly so, for that.  But I will always remember Ken as he was when I first met him, some 21 years ago in 1995, when he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.  I met this young, bright-eyed lawyer – barely out of law school, just shy of turning 30.  But when you first met Ken in those days you saw more than his youth.  I remember his spirit and his vitality; I remember his intensity and also his commitment to justice and to the most vulnerable among us.  And I remember a smile that could light up a room and warm your heart.  Ken called to mind the words of the First Book of Timothy: “Let no one despise your youth, but set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith.”  Even as a young lawyer, Ken set that example: through his tireless work ethic, through his unshakeable integrity, through his deep faith in God and his intense love for his family and friends – and, above all, through his utter devotion to the cause of justice.

Justice was very real for Ken.  Although he had a brilliant legal mind, Ken saw the law as being about so much more than statutes written down in books. It was about the dignity and well-being of human beings.  It was about improving individual lives.  And he knew that the law meant nothing unless “the least of these” had the same protections as “the richest of these.”

Even as Ken matured as a lawyer and as a person, he never lost that spirit and enthusiasm – that commitment to his mission – that I remember from 1995.  Within minutes of meeting Ken, you understood his sincere desire to do what was right.  All of us in law enforcement know that when a person is most in need of justice, he is often at his most vulnerable.  Ken had a rare gift for connecting with people at that difficult moment – whether it was a reluctant witness in the Abner Louima case, which we worked together; or a plaintiff who had suffered the humiliating sting of discrimination; or a wrongfully convicted individual who had all but given up hope for a second chance.  For all of those and so many more, Ken Thompson was their bridge to justice.  Like all lawyers, he wanted to win cases. But he didn’t want to win for winning’s sake; he wanted to win for the sake of the person whose life would be forever shaped by the verdict.  He knew that justice is about so much more than the cases that you make; it is about the people that you help.

I watched with such pride Ken’s movement from idealistic young prosecutor to seasoned litigator to accomplished statesman.  But when I looked at him in all those phases, I still saw the dedication and commitment, the love of the law, and the open and welcoming smile I saw all those years ago.

He is gone far too soon, and the loss of this incredibly gifted man is made even more poignant by the promise of what else he might have accomplished had he also had the gift of time.

I am certain that Ken would not have wanted us to dwell on what might have been.  He made the most of the time he was given.  The prophet Micah tells us, “And what does the LORD require of thee to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

By that measure, Ken did all that was required of him in his 50 years, and so much more.  He would have been the first to say that his life’s work was not about him.  He would have said that it was about others.  And so it is for others – for you and me – to carry on.  As we bid farewell to a devoted husband, a loving father, an exceptional public servant – to our friend – let us resolve to do just that.  The years that should have been his, he bequeathed to us.  He has bequeathed his time, his charge, his mission.  Let us resolve to continue the work that he began.  And let us renew our commitment to building the more just society that Kenneth Thompson envisioned; the more just society that was his life’s defining pursuit; the more just society that is his enduring legacy.

Thank you.

Exercise Your Rights: VOTE

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

By Marc H. Morial, President and CEO
National Urban League

 

“In a democracy such as ours, the vote is precious, it is almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have. Those who sacrificed everything — their blood and their lives — and generations yet unborn, are all hoping and praying that Congress will rise to the challenge and get it done again.”  — Congressman John Lewis.

 

In less than a month, the nation will conclude what is likely to be remembered as one of the most contentious Presidential campaigns in modern history.

The campaign has been fraught with racially divisive rhetoric as the nation continues to struggle with issues of racial hostility and social inequity, as demonstrated by the wave of violence that has taken so many lives over the last year.

A lack of social and economic opportunity is at the root of the unrest. The troubling divisive rhetoric that has characterized the 2016 Presidential race has fed the unrest. And only a historic, targeted mobilization of resources can address the unrest.

National Urban League has a plan to elevate urban communities through targeted public investment, called the Main Street Marshall Plan.

The National Urban League has a plan to hold police and communities accountable for unjustified violence against unarmed citizens, called the 10 Point Justice Plan for Police Reform and Accountability.

But plans on paper, written in the most compelling prose, with the most prescient rationale, mean nothing if we do not put in place responsible, forward-thinking governmental representatives with the power to put these plans into action.

The responsibility to put these plans into action lies with this generation.

That responsibility boils down to just one almighty action: We must vote.

The National Urban League is part of a nonpartisan Election Protection coalition formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Election Protection provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voting information on how they can make sure their vote is counted through a number of resources including a voter helpline 866-OUR-VOTE.

If you or anyone you know experiences any irregularity while trying to register or vote, please call 866-OUR-VOTE. But please, vote.

If injustice outrages you, if this recent cycle of violence grates at your inner core as a human being, then we must vote.

If we want to fund urban infrastructure and build schools instead of juvenile detention facilities, build libraries and community centers instead of prisons, we must vote.

If we want universal early childhood education … we must vote.

If we want a federal living wage, tied to inflation, we must vote.

If we want to fund urban infrastructure and build schools instead of juvenile detention facilities, libraries and community centers instead of prisons, we must vote.

If you want to see our tax dollars go to rebuilding West Baltimore and Inglewood, Chicago and Athens, Ohio, and Boone, North Carolina, as they have in Baghdad and Kabul, we must vote.

If we want to see our urban youth working at summer jobs instead of floundering in hopelessness, we must vote.

If we want to see the dream of a college education within affordable reach for every student in America, we must vote.

If we are to see justice done in the killings of our brothers and sisters at the hands of police and self-appointed vigilantes, we must vote.

If we want to end the scourge of violence within African-American neighborhoods, we must vote.

If we want to erase the AR-17 and the AK47 – the weapon of choice for terrorists and mass killings –  from our streets, we must vote.

If we want no fly, no buy and universal background checks, we must vote.

If we are to honor the martyrdom of Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, we must vote.

If we want a compassionate system of immigration reform that leads to dignity and citizenship, we must vote.

If we want continued, robust funding for the Urban League’s highly effective programs, we must vote.

If our vision is an America with liberty, justice and economic opportunity for all, we must vote.

If we are to change the heart of this nation, we must vote.

And if we are to achieve all this, through our vote, we must continue to fight with everything we have to protect our vote.

This is the first Presidential election in more than 50 years to take place without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. This year, 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. The new laws range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions.  Those 14 states are: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

It’s no accident that the states most likely to pass new voting restrictions were those with the highest African-American turnout in 2008, those with the highest Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010, and those formerly covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it was struck down by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

Of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008, six have new restrictions in place. Of the 15 jurisdictions previously covered by Section 5, nine have new restrictions in place and four of them enacted restrictions directly after the Shelby County decision: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas.

Make no mistake, there are people in power who do not want African-Americans, young people, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations do vote. We cannot let them stop us.

 

Revcoms Brings National Organizing Tour to Chicago

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

 

The Revolution Club – also known as the Revcoms – are bringing their National Organizing Tour to Chicago.  The theme of the tour is “America Was Never Great!  Overthrow, Don’t Vote For, This System!”

 

A Press Conference will be held Tuesday, Oct 18, 9 a.m., at Cook County (Leighton) Criminal Courthouse (on the steps), 2650 S. California, in Chicago, with Carl Dix speaking.

“Chicago is famous for two things.” said Carl Dix, one of the spokespersons for the Tour: “the police murdering our youth and then covering it up, and the way in which the system has turned these youth against each other.  We’re going to organize them to turn their anger against this system, and not each other, and to fight to overthrow it.” 
 
“We’ll be going to the campuses, too, where the students are questioning.  Our message to everyone: neither of the presidential candidates will bring anything but worse misery and oppression.  We need to get organized, NOW, for an actual revolution.”
 
The Revcoms were recently in the news in Chicago after Milwaukee police chief accused them of leading the recent rebellion against police murder in Milwaukee this summer.  When asked about this, Dix said “Innocent as charged.”
 
*Carl Dix is a courageous freedom fighter from the 1960s who went on to become a revolutionary fighter and a communist. Dix spent two years in military prison for refusing to fight in the unjust Vietnam War. He emerged unrepentant and went on to become a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), USA, dedicating his life to the emancipation of all humanity. Today, Carl is a follower of and advocate for Bob Avakian, his leadership, and his visionary new synthesis of communism. Carl Dix and Cornel West co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN), and Rise Up October that brought thousands into the streets in New York City demanding a stop to police terror.

Art Show by Incarcerated Youth Added to October 28th Event Program!

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Mitigating Evidence: An exhibition of art and writing by people who are or were incarcerated in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and Stateville Correctional Center is being installed at the West Side Justice Center for the FDLA “Be Ready to Protect Them” launch event on October 28th. It is not to be missed!

Mitigating Evidence is the fifth exhibition of Free Write Arts and Literacy student work; it was originally hosted by Chicago Art Department and is the first collaborative effort between Free Write and Prison Neighborhood Arts Project.

Friday, October 28th, 3pm-5pm, **Reception to follow**

West Side Justice Center: 601 S. California Ave.

This is a free mini-workshop for lawyers and anyone who works with youth to learn more about what is at stake when youth are alone with police, and what adults can do.

Featuring Panelists:

Vickie Casanova Willis: First Defense Legal Aid & the National Conference of Black Lawyers

Herschella Conyers: Mandel Legal Aid Clinic & the Juvenile Justice Initiative

Xavier McEthrath-Bey: Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

Aislinn Sol: Black Lives Matter – Chicago

Paul Williams: First Defense Legal Aid Street Law Corps

 

Eleven Defendants Charged with Bank Fraud for Maxing Out Fraudulently Obtained Credit Cards

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — Eleven people fraudulently obtained multiple credit cards and quickly maxed out the credit limits, with no intention of ever paying back the balance, according to an indictment unsealed in federal court in Chicago.

The defendants applied for the credit cards online, using false employment and income information to secure approval and bolster the credit limits, according to the indictment.  Upon receipt of the cards, the defendants purchased goods and services, and quickly reached the maximum credit limits to obtain as much money as possible from the financial institutions who issued the cards, the indictment states.  Some of the defendants later filed for bankruptcy in order to discharge the debts they had charged to the credit cards.  The scam began in April 2010 and continued until at least October 2015, according to the indictment.

The indictment states that several of the defendants also created phony corporations and linked mobile payment accounts to them.  Fictitious purchases were then made through the bogus corporations, creating charges that were reimbursed by the credit card issuers, the indictment states.

Charged with one count of bank fraud are GABRIEL CWYNAR, 37, of Chicago; IZABELA KAPUSCIAK, also known as “Izabela Cwynar,” 39, of Chicago; JAROSLAW WYSOCKI, 48, of Schaumburg; BARTOSZ POZNIAK, 42, of Mount Prospect; JOLANTA WYSOCKA, 50, of Schaumburg; MONIKA SZCZUREK, 36, of Lombard; MARCIN CYCHOWSKI; 41, of Addison; DANIEL NOGA, also known as “Daniel Terlecki,” 41, or Des Plaines; FRANCISZEK BYSTRON, 37, of Park Ridge; ARTHUR RADOLINSKI, 32, of Lisle; and ELZBIETA BUCZEK, 37, of Bensenville.

The eleven-count indictment was returned Sept. 29, 2016, and ordered unsealed yesterday.  It seeks forfeiture of at least $1.3 million.

The defendants pleaded not guilty during arraignments yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim.  A status hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2016, before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel.

The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Each count of bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy J. Chapman and Kavitha Babu.

Indictment

Hearing May Immediately Force City Council to Stop Violating Open Meetings Act

Posted by Admin On October - 17 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Judge to hear arguments on motion for injunction to force City’s immediate compliance, could make decision at end of hearing

 

CHICAGO, IL – A Cook County Judge will hear arguments Wednesday for an injunction against the Chicago City Council to force its immediate compliance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The hearing will take place at 10:30 AM, Wednesday, October 19 in Courtroom 2405 of the Daley Center, Courtroom 2405.

 

Longtime activists Andy Thayer and Rick Garcia filed suit in July alleging that the Chicago City Council violates the Illinois Open Meetings Act by barring the public from its meetings and not permitting public comment at them.

 

Their suit arose out of the City Council rushing through a notorious $15.8 million TIF subsidy for a luxury high-rise development in the Uptown neighborhood, just yards away from homeless encampments underneath Lake Shore Drive viaducts – people whom the activists say need housing help far more than the politically-connected developer of the luxury high-rise.

 

The timing of the rushed vote for TIF subsidy was no accident, say the activists. It was passed just before the new Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) took effect this July. Unlike the old ARO requiring just 5% affordable units in TIF-supported developments, the new ARO requires that they have at least 20% affordable units. Indeed, at the June Council meeting, Alderman Ed Burke noted “there is an urgency to this matter,” according to the minutes of the meeting (01:16:37).

 

In apparent response to the suit which complained of no members of the general public being allowed entrance at the start of the May and June meetings, in July, the City Council instituted a new policy allowing just 30 seats in the gallery for the general public, reserving the 282 remaining seats for its chosen attendees. This, despite the “Defendant conced[ing] that almost every CITY COUNCIL meeting has lines over 50 people long…[and] that it has lines over 100 people long multiple times a year and has had at least one line 200 people long,” according to a plaintiffs’ filing. Indeed, “giving [any] preferential admission to certain groups of people violates the OMA.”

 

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged “the most open, accountable, and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen,” activists with decades of experience in attending City Council meetings note that under Mayor Emanuel, the council meetings are even less accessible than under Richard M. Daley.

 

The Open Meetings Act states that “[C]itizens shall be given advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings at which any business of a public body is discussed or acted upon in any way… The provisions for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings.” 5 ILCS 120, Sec. 1

 

“From mass school closures, to TIF subsidies for the wealthy, to a long series of regressive taxes, the City Council and Mayor Emanuel are able to get away with these wildly unpopular measures in part because they bar the public from attending, let alone testifying at City Council meetings,” said co-plaintiff Andy Thayer. “With a hand-picked audience in the Council gallery, they manufacture the illusion of popular support for their unpopular measures.”

 

A copy of the suit and the amended motion for the preliminary injunction can be found here and here.

 

 

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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