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David Orr

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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
3:43pm
Wed Aug 24, 2016

Bernie's 'Our Revolution' Campaign To Launch Wednesday In Chicago, Nationwide (VIDEO)

Despite having lost the Democratic presidential nomination, "the Bernie revolution" will continue with the "next phase" launching nationwide Wednesday night.

Some 2,600 watch parties and meetings are set to take place across the country tonight as former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses thousands of his supporters to "lay out some of the next steps we can take as a movement to empower a wave of progressive candidates this November and win the major upcoming fights for the values we share," according to Our Revolution President Jeff Weaver, who also served as Sanders' presidential campaign manager.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:06pm
Fri Nov 20, 2015

Federal Grant Stirs Debate Over Charter Schools In Illinois

The debate over charters schools is heating up in Illinois. Advocates on both sides of the issue are speaking out about a five-year, $42 million federal grant Illinois won in September to support the creation of new public charter schools.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:29pm
Tue Jul 14, 2015

Chicago TIF Revenue Drops 12 Percent, Seven Districts Slated For Early Termination

The seven downtown Chicago tax increment financing (TIF) districts that Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to phase out have together collected $869 million in revenue since their inception, according to figures provided by Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Just in the last year, the seven TIF districts had combined revenues of $93 million.

Those numbers were contained in Orr's 2014 TIF report released Monday, the same day news broke that the city will be shutting down seven downtown TIF districts after current project balances have been paid in full. As part of Emanuel's TIF changes -- which were announced as both the city and school district grapple with large pension and budgetary issues -- no new spending in the seven TIF districts will occur.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is expected to get $125 million in revenue over five years under the plan to shutter the TIF districts, and the city will receive $50 million. Other funds will be set aside for "emergency infrastructure projects."

"Chicago and the mayor are moving in the right direction by freezing new spending at some downtown TIFs and dissolving those TIFs when current projects have ended," Orr said in a press release. "Still, such scrubbing is overdue and it could certainly include more than seven of 148 TIFs."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:58pm
Thu Jun 19, 2014

CivicLab: Chicago's 48th Ward Had $22 Million In TIF Funds Last Year

Far North Side Chicago residents were shocked to learn that the five active tax increment financing (TIF) districts located in the 48th Ward had $22.3 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the start of 2013, according to city data revealed by the CivicLab at a Wednesday night community meeting.

That money would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, were it not for the city’s controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in “blighted” areas.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:47pm
Thu Jan 16, 2014

Same-Sex Couples Get Some Clarity On Illinois Marriage Equality Bill (VIDEO)

    Same sex couples can legally marry in Illinois starting June 1, but many members of the LGBTQ community have questions about how the new marriage equality law will be implemented, prompting a handful of elected officials to host an informational forum Wednesday night on the North Side of Chicago.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:57pm
Wed Sep 25, 2013

Local Organizations Push For Increased Civic Engagement On National Voter Registration Day (VIDEO)

With the 2014 general election just 13 months away and voter registration numbers at an all-time low, hundreds of volunteers took to Chicagoland streets Tuesday to mark National Voter Registration Day in an effort to get as many new voters on the rolls as possible.

“Election after election, millions of voters aren’t able to vote because they miss voter registration deadlines or they didn’t know how to register,” said Rebecca Reynolds, 28, executive director of Chicago Votes. “This day is a day to try to make sure we leave no one out.”

Chicago Votes, a volunteer-run civic engagement advocacy group, served as Illinois’ lead organization on Tuesday’s national day of action to increase voter registration. More than 40 local groups, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, partnered with Chicago Votes to encourage residents to exercise their basic right to vote.

“Voter registration has hit an all-time low in the city of Chicago,” said Reynolds. “We’re trying to make voter registration easier, and more accessible to everybody.”

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