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Inspector General
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:58pm
Tue Jan 20, 2015

Environmental Concerns Swirl Around Mission Hills Development Plan, Opponents Urge Cook Co. Board To Delay Vote (UPDATED)

Residents of Mission Hills Country Club Village in unincorporated Northbrook want Cook County commissioners to delay a vote on a new housing development proposed for their community.

Northbrook-based Red Seal Development wants to build a 137-unit housing development that includes town homes, duplexes and single-family homes on about 44 acres of land at Mission Hills, a complex that currently features 781 condominiums and town homes as well as a separately-owned, 18-hole golf course.

Red Seal is seeking approval from the Cook County Board for zoning changes that would pave the way for the project, which would involve building on half of the existing golf course.

The Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted unanimously to advance Red Seal's proposal back in December. As a result, the Cook County Board's Zoning and Building Committee is slated to consider the project at its meeting on Wednesday morning. If the committee approves the project, it could go before the full Cook County Board for consideration later in the day.

Mission Hills Openlands, a group of residents leading the effort against the proposed development, claims the project would threaten the environment and property values in the community and lead to more flooding problems, among other concerns.

"What they're doing is an environmental travesty," stressed Mission Hills Openlands founder Karen Jump. "They would be clear cutting about 500 trees and taking 44 acres of open lands and putting it under asphalt and concrete. And we're in a very short distance to the Des Plaines River, and there's flooding all around us."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Oct 8, 2014

Chicago Aldermen Approve IG Measure, Washington Park TIF; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:52pm
Wed Sep 10, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Inspector General's Authority, SROs & CHA Oversight

Progress Illinois provides some of the highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:05pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Education Groups Demand Investigation Into Chicago Board Of Ed's Ties To AUSL (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists and grassroots organizations have taken their fight against recently-approved public school turnarounds to the inspectors general of the school district and the U.S. Department of Education.

On April 30, the Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education coalition filed complaints with the two inspector general offices, requesting an investigation into possible conflicts of interest surrounding the Chicago Board of Education's decision last month to hand three academically struggling schools over to the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a controversial school turnaround contractor. 

In its complaints, the coalition specifically cites Board of Education President David Vitale and board member Carlos Azcoitia as having potential conflicts due to their ties to AUSL. The education coalition, which believes the three recent school turnarounds are invalid due to the alleged conflicts, also notes that Tim Cawley, CPS' Chief Administrative Officer, is the former managing director of AUSL and "is in a position to approve CPS contracts, including the AUSL contracts."

"There seems to be a swinging door relationship between CPS and AUSL," said Valerie Leonard with Chicago Citizens United to Preserve Public Education, which includes groups such as Blocks Together, the Lawndale Alliance, Teachers for Social Justice and other members.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:47pm
Wed Apr 30, 2014

Chicago City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban, Petcoke Regulations

The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to partially ban plastic shopping bags and put in place tougher regulations for petcoke facilities. Progress Illinois takes a look at the two issues as well as other highlights from the council meeting.

PI Original
by Aricka Flowers
10:24pm
Wed Mar 13, 2013

Second So-Called Progressive Caucus Emerges In Chicago City Council, Begging The Question Of Why?

A second group of aldermen, calling themselves the Paul Douglas Alliance (after the liberal Illinois U.S. Senator and former member of the Chicago City Council), announced they are forming a new so-called progressive caucus. The move comes one day after the council's original progressive caucus, the Progressive Reform Coalition, announced their legislative priorities. Progress Illinois breaks down what the formation of the second progressive caucus could really mean.