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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Alderman Joe Moore to housing activists: Get off my lawn or ‘that ordinance is never going to come out of my committee’

Posted By on 07.26.16 at 12:30 PM

Alderman Joe Moore before a City Council meeting in May - BRIAN JACKSON/SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Brian Jackson/Sun-Times Media
  • Alderman Joe Moore before a City Council meeting in May

On Tuesday, July 12, 49th Ward alderman Joe Moore welcomed gardening and floral aficionados to his home for the Rogers Park Garden Group's annual fund-raiser. But ten uninvited housing activists showed up as well. They stood outside his house silently, holding an outstretched banner that read: "1,000s of Homeless Families are Trying to Blossom: Don't Weed Them Out."

The activists were from a coalition of groups, including the Chicago Housing Initiative, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, ONE Northside, and Access Living's Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing. They had come to protest Moore's refusal to call a vote on an ordinance that would give the City Council oversight of the Chicago Housing Authority and mandate greater accountability for the agency.

Moore soon exited his home and confronted the activists. In a video obtained by the Reader, Moore can be heard threatening to shelve the housing ordinance in question.

"You can stand here as long as you want. That's your First Amendment right," he says. "However, since you've chosen my home to do your demonstration, I have chosen that—to decide that—that ordinance is never going to come out of my committee as long as I'm chair. You got that?"

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Friday, April 10, 2015

RIP lakefront liberal

Posted By on 04.10.15 at 04:00 PM

Rahm Emanuel got lots of love from lakefront voters.
  • Joshua Lott/Getty Images
  • Rahm Emanuel got lots of love from lakefront voters.
Among the casualties in Tuesday's runoff election—along with my short but brilliant career as a political prognosticator—was the concept of the lakefront liberal.

That sucker died a ignoble death with the avalanche of support Mayor Emanuel got from voters of the north-lakefront persuasion.

For relatively new readers, it's time for a history lesson . . .

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Will the new Chicago City Council still be a rubber stamp?

Posted By on 04.10.15 at 07:30 AM

Incoming 35th Ward alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has vowed not to become a mayoral rubber stamp.
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times Media
  • Incoming 35th Ward alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has vowed not to become a mayoral rubber stamp.
Carlos Ramirez-Rosa says it's clear why he and more than a dozen other newcomers have been elected to the Chicago City Council, and why Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to fight so hard for his own reelection.

"What we've seen was a massive shake-up, especially by Chicago standards," says Ramirez-Rosa, who defeated 35th Ward alderman Rey Colon in February. Voters have decided that "it's important to have a group of folks who say they're 100 percent with the neighborhoods and that they're going to be independent. . . . I don't think Chicago politics can ever be the same."

True, the "shake-up" bar is low around here. At the very least, the City Council might not be quite the same.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rahm or Chuy? Watch us track the returns live from the Hideout

Posted By on 04.07.15 at 05:36 PM

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

In addition to the runoff for mayor, more than a third of the City Council—18 seats—will be determined today. You can watch Ben Joravsky and I analyze the returns as they come in, starting at 8 PM, with help from a trio of aldermen: Proco Joe Moreno (First Ward), Pat Dowell (Third), and Ameya Pawar (47th).

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Crime and affordable housing—issues that just won't go away in the 46th Ward

Posted By on 04.03.15 at 07:30 AM

Challenger Amy Crawford says the 46th Ward needs more police.
  • Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media
  • Challenger Amy Crawford says the 46th Ward needs more police.
During his campaigns for alderman in 2007 and 2011, James Cappleman vowed to crack down on crime, saying gang activity and public drinking were discouraging new businesses from coming into the 46th Ward. His solution: more police, which he promised to fund by targeting wasteful spending.

Cappleman won the second race, yet four years later the calls for more police keep coming—this time from his runoff challenger, Amy Crawford.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alderman Toni Foulkes not 'black' enough for some 16th Ward voters

Posted By on 04.01.15 at 01:39 PM

15th Ald. Toni Foulkes poses with her parents. Foulkes, whos campaigning to be alderman of the 16th Ward, posted this photo to a friends Instagram account in an attempt to clear up what she says has been confusion around her ethnicity.
  • c/o Toni Foulkes
  • 15th Ward Alderman Toni Foulkes poses with her parents. Foulkes, who's campaigning to be alderman of the 16th Ward, posted this photo to a friend's Instagram account in an attempt to clear up what she says has been confusion around her ethnicity.

While out knocking on doors recently in her campaign to be the new 16th Ward alderman, Toni Foulkes encountered an African-American woman who said Foulkes wouldn't be getting her vote because she isn't black.

Foulkes, who is in fact black, says her jaw dropped.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Secrets, lies, and recriminations, aka the 43rd Ward debates

Posted By on 03.25.15 at 01:33 PM

Alderman Michele Smith
  • Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times
  • Alderman Michele Smith
Of all the candidates in this city this election season—both mayoral and aldermanic—you'd be hard-pressed to find a pair who obviously hate each other more than Michele Smith and Caroline Vickrey, who are vying to become alderman of the 43rd Ward. Smith is the incumbent, Vickrey is the challenger, and their enmity has had plenty of time to grow in the past three months because they've had to take part in nine separate debates, five in advance of the general election, four more before the runoff. Even Rahm and Chuy have only had to face off five times total.

The 43rd Ward encompasses Lincoln Park and parts of Old Town and the Gold Coast and many, many neighborhood associations, each of which has sponsored its very own debate, heavily attended by concerned citizens. The moderators at least seem to want the candidates to discuss issues that affect their particular neighborhoods. But such enmity cannot be contained. Even a simple question about requiring sprinklers in high-rises—a subject on which Smith and Vickrey actually agree—becomes a jumping-off point for accusations, recriminations, and bitterness. (They're against it, by the way.) Monday night's debate at the Public Hotel, sponsored by the Gold Coast Neighbors Association, was no exception. As a civilized discussion of issues facing the neighborhood, it was a total dud. As political theater, though, it was a decent show.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A plan to use $14 million in Uptown TIF funds stalls—and a runoff looms

Posted By on 03.24.15 at 08:30 AM

As he faces a runoff election, 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman has been mum about a proposed, TIF-funded development near the Uptown lakefront.
  • Al Podgorski/Sun-Times
  • As he faces a runoff election, 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman has been mum about a proposed TIF-funded development near the Uptown lakefront.
Last year around this time, a group of Uptown activists were busy protesting 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman's support for a pair of high-rise residential towers along the lakefront—a project that would use $14 million in tax increment financing (TIF) dollars, though only 10 percent of the units will be set aside as "affordable."

But now the Uptown project, planned for the site of the abandoned Maryville hospital, has been sitting before the city's Plan Commission for close to two years, with no word from the alderman—who's in a runoff election—on what the heck is happening with it.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alderman Emma Mitts wants more 37th Ward charter schools

Posted By on 03.10.15 at 12:35 PM

Alderman Emma Mitts (37th Ward): not a fan of the Chicago Teachers Union.
On election night Alderman Emma Mitts let her 37th Ward constituents know that she was ready for war.

Mitts told her supporters to celebrate as if she'd won despite being pulled into a runoff with Chicago Teachers Union delegate Tara Stamps—then added that union members could "get the hell out of the 37th Ward," according to reporting from Austin Talks.

In addition to those not-so-subtle sentiments, Mitts also said she wouldn't be opposed to bringing more charter schools into the ward, though two controversial charters have opened there in the past several years.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

A 25th Ward challenger accuses Alderman Solis of election shenanigans, demands recount

Posted By on 03.05.15 at 08:30 AM

25th Ward candidate Byron Sigcho stands outside the Chicago Board of Elections Tuesday after filing a lawsuit requesting a recount within the ward.
  • Chloe Riley
  • 25th Ward candidate Byron Sigcho stands outside the Chicago Board of Elections Tuesday after filing a lawsuit requesting a recount within the ward.

Standing in the damp chill after a morning of freezing rain, 25th Ward aldermanic candidate Byron Sigcho made his case for a recount outside the Chicago Board of Elections Tuesday: he alleged that the campaign of incumbent alderman Danny Solis was responsible for a range of high jinks on election day.

"We know that there was definitely manipulation," said Sigcho, a UIC instructor. "It's no surprise that [Solis] has a large margin, but it's really hard to believe that we got that few votes."

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