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Quick Hit
by Matthew C. Clark
11:54am
Wed Nov 13, 2013

Chicagoans Protest Ventra at CTA Budget Hearing (VIDEO)

A crowd of about 20 people gathered inside the plaza of the Chicago Transit Authority headquarters on Lake Street Tuesday night to rally against Ventra, and air their grievances during the CTA's public hearing for its 2014 Operating Budget and Program.

The crowd cheered "No Ventra" to cameras and reporters before the hearing began, and spoke out against the privatization of public services.

"Ventra has proven itself to be at best ineffective and at worst totally broken," said Chicagoan Megan Groves, who helped organize the rally."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:35pm
Tue Nov 12, 2013

Illinois Voters Back EPA Carbon Pollution Regulations For Power Plants, New Poll Shows

A majority of Illinois voters say they trust the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), not Congress, to decide limits on harmful carbon emissions from power plants, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows. 

Illinois voters are also more likely to throw their support behind candidates for U.S. Senate who support EPA's proposed carbon pollution regulations for power plants, rather than those who oppose them, according to the poll conducted on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"We continue to see public support for limits on carbon pollution from power plants and extraordinary public skepticism about Congress trying to prevent that,” David Goldston, director of NRDC's government affairs program, said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “That’s an important message as the administration moves ahead, as the president has said it will, with putting out power plant standards to limit carbon pollution for the first time.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:38pm
Fri Nov 8, 2013

Environmental, Labor Groups Hold Dueling Chicago Rallies Over EPA Pollution Limits For Power Plants (VIDEO)

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a day-long listening session in Chicago Friday about proposed carbon regulations for existing power plants, groups on various sides of the issue spoke out at rallies held downtown. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of the events.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:21pm
Tue Sep 17, 2013

Proposed Dynegy Coal Pollution Waiver Divides Environmental, Labor Groups At IL Hearing

Environmentalists and labor groups were strongly divided at an Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) hearing in Springfield Tuesday over whether the Texas-based energy company Dynegy should be granted more time to meet the state's clean air standards for five local coal-fired power plants it plans to buy. Progress Illinois was there for the hearing.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:40pm
Fri Aug 2, 2013

Parents Fire Back At CPS Over Budget Cuts At Riotous Public Hearing

A public hearing regarding the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) proposed $5.6 billion budget for next year quickly escalated into angry shouting just minutes into the district’s financial presentation.

The planned budget for the 2013-2014 school year includes some $68 million in classroom cuts, including teacher layoffs, in an effort to help close the district’s reported $1 billion budget hole.

CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley told the crowd that the district’s budget deficit is being driven largely by an increased pension payment it must make now that its three-year pension vacation has ended.

But the more than 100 community members at Thursday night's meeting, held at Truman College, were irritated by that answer, saying CPS should be looking into other revenue streams before making deep cuts to schools.

“How about TIFs,” one audience member shouted at Cawley, referring to tax increment financing (TIF) funds.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:37pm
Wed May 29, 2013

CTU, Parents File New Lawsuit Against School Closings

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and parents of neighborhood school students filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education Wednesday to stop 10 schools from shutting down that independent hearing officers previously recommended the district not to close.

Independent hearing officers ruled earlier this month that Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett failed to comply with the board's own school closing guidelines for 10 of the 50 schools approved for closure last week.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue an injunction, which would bar CPS from closing the 10 schools for the upcoming school year, said CTU lead attorney Robert Bloch.

“The board of education is now taking an approach that many believe it has been following all along, the public hearings on school closings were just for show," Bloch said. "The board does not view itself as obligated to respect the rulings of its own handpicked hearing officers." 

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