Five Chicago aldermen want to surplus funds from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district located in their wards and use the money to help "alleviate the budget crisis" at the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.
Some Chicago aldermen, small business owners and retail lobbyists want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider his tobacco tax proposal, saying the plan would adversely affect local businesses and neighborhoods, including those already impacted by black-market sales of "loosie" cigarettes.
But a coalition of health organizations is firing back, calling on the city council to "reject the tobacco industry's rhetoric and to pass a strong tobacco control ordinance."
Debate rages on over Emanuel's proposal to increase the smoking age in Chicago from 18 to 21 and impose a $6 million tax on non-cigarette tobacco products, with the revenue going in part toward Chicago Public Schools orientation programs. The plan is aimed at preventing "young people from picking up smoking, while investing in their education," according to the administration.
Chicago Ald. George Cardenas (12th) spoke out Monday against the activation of a controversial speed camera in his ward.
The speed camera is located in the McKinley Park neighborhood at 3200 S. Archer Avenue, near the Mulberry Playlot Park at 3150 S. Robinson St.
On Monday, the photo enforcement device began issuing warnings to speeding drivers. After a 30-day warning period, tickets will be issued, and drivers caught going 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit will face $100 fines.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and proponents of speed cameras say the devices, located near parks and schools, enhance children's safety. But opponents argue that speed cameras are less about safety and more about generating revenue for the city.
"There's no justification whatsoever for this camera being here except (for) ticketing people on their way home, or on their way to work or from work," Cardenas said at a morning press conference in front of the Archer Avenue speed camera near Paulina Street.