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Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:22pm
Wed Nov 14, 2012

Why The City Council Will Rubber Stamp Emanuel's Budget

Protesters organized by Stand Up! Chicago staged a “die-in” yesterday at Chicago's City Hall lying motionless on the floor to represent what they say is the devastation that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget will inflict on Chicago neighborhoods.

The advocates' message has mostly fallen on deaf ears in the city council. Aldermen are expected at a council meeting tomorrow to easily pass a budget that Emanuel presented just last month. The only questions are whether the vote will be unanimous and what, if any, items in the $6.54 billion package will be modified.

There was hope when Emanuel became mayor last year of more give and take between the city manager and council on the Windy City’s annual budget. Why has this not happened?

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
6:27pm
Mon Oct 29, 2012

City Touts Building Demolitions In Crime Prevention, But Is There A Connection?

Today, the city of Chicago demolished its “200th dangerous building” since July 12, according to the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor stated in a press release that demolitions are “preventing criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”

Is this true? “We’ve been knocking down houses since the 1930’s and it’s not clear if this has a significant effect on crime rates,” says Bradford Hunt, a sociology professor at Roosevelt University who studies Chicago housing issues.

Also in question: How does the city determine what properties see the wrecking ball?

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:29pm
Wed Oct 24, 2012

Chicago City Council: School Closing Hearing Will Be Held, Homeless Population Questioned

The Chicago City Council will hold hearings on what are rumored to be 80 to 120 neighborhood school closings, according to Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), head of the council's education committee.

Thomas, who as education chairperson must convene such a panel, has previously been silent on a resolution signed by 32 aldermen calling for a school closing hearing. She told Progress Illinois that she would “absolutely” hold such a hearing.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
4:20pm
Tue Oct 16, 2012

City Staffing, Promised Savings Scrutinized In Emanuel Budget

The Chicago City Council started this morning four days of hearings that will examine the proposed 2013 budget that Mayor Rahm Emanuel released last week.

At a community meeting on the Northwest Side last night Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said that, “The annual budget is the most important aspect of public policy. It tells us who we are as a city.”

Perhaps to the chagrin of Fioretti, Chicago is a city that mostly lets the mayor write the budget. Unlike the U.S. Congress or Illinois General Assembly, the 50-member city council essentially plays an advisory role.

The public also played a small role under previous mayors through community hearings, but Emanuel scrapped those this year. So a group of six aldermen representing the council’s progressive caucus held a public forum last night that attracted about 200 people.

PI Original
by Matthew Blake
1:17pm
Mon Aug 27, 2012

What To Make Of The Chicago Murder Rate

The homicide rate is probably the top political story in Chicago so far this year, with an approximately 30 percent citywide increase in murders between 2011 and 2012 and a succession of new pronouncements from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on how they are responding to the problem.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:58pm
Wed Jul 11, 2012

Neighborhoods May Not Be Ultimate Winners In Plan To Demolish High-Crime Properties

A plan to demolish abandoned buildings in high-crime areas used for illegal activity in Chicago has not been well received by housing advocates. They say area residents may not wind up the big winners once the plan gets executed.

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