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Lincoln Park
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
10:57am
Wed Feb 11

Chicago's 32nd Ward Aldermanic Candidates Trade Jabs At Lakeview Forum

The two aldermanic candidates in Chicago's 32nd Ward race traded barbs throughout a Tuesday evening political forum, with incumbent Ald. Scott Waguespack coming under attack for his "personality conflicts" and challenger Elise Doody-Jones taking heat over her residency.

A pro-Mayor Rahm Emanuel super PAC's involvement in the 32nd Ward race was also discussed at the candidate forum, hosted by the South Lakeview Neighbors at the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

Chicago's 32nd Ward includes parts of Bucktown, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Roscoe Village and Wicker Park.

Waguespack, who has held the 32nd Ward seat since 2007, is a member of the city council's Progressive Reform Caucus. Doody-Jones is a small business owner who formerly served as treasurer of 1st Ward First, an independent political organization in Chicago's 1st Ward that supports the ward's current alderman, Joe Moreno.

Doody-Jones presently resides in the neighboring 1st Ward but says she will move to the 32nd Ward, if elected. She was asked about her residency at the top of Tuesday's forum, to which Doody-Jones explained that her Logan Square home is located just outside the ward's remapped boundaries.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Thu Jul 17, 2014

Chicagoans Criticize School Funding Cuts At CPS Budget Hearing (VIDEO)

Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) proposed $5.76 billion spending plan for the 2014-2015 academic year slashes $72 million in funding from 504 traditional neighborhood schools but boosts the budgets of privately-run charter and contract schools by 12 percent.

The funding difference, mostly due to declining enrollment projected at traditional CPS schools and increased enrollment at charters, did not sit well with parents, teachers, education activists and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who vented their frustrations at a CPS budget hearing Wednesday evening at Malcolm X College on the city's West Side. Education activists toting signs reading, "BOE has different rules for different schools," also spoke out against neighborhood school budget cuts ahead of the hearing.

"There's a crisis in Chicago Public Schools today," Fioretti told the six CPS officials at the hearing. "CPS closed 50 schools last year, supposedly based upon declining enrollment. At the same time, they opened new charter schools. Despite promises of increased funding for existing schools, CPS cut the budget for neighborhood schools this year, while they increased the budget for charter schools. 

"There is no political will from CPS or the fifth floor of this city," he added. "When we decide that politicians should allow charter schools, contract schools and other schools that take away the resources for political ends only, we are depriving our kids of the necessary education here in this city."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:09pm
Fri Jun 27, 2014

CivicLab's 'Democracy Design Studio' To Launch New Tools, Programs For Activists

Progress Illinois profiles the Chicago-based CivicLab, which turns one year old next month, and its latest efforts to aid local activists.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:26pm
Fri Apr 4, 2014

Report: Credit Score Disparities Contribute To Racial Wealth Gap In Illinois

Residents in predominantly minority communities in Illinois have lower credit scores on average than those in mostly white neighborhoods — and that is a significant contributor to the racial wealth gap, according to a recent report from the Illinois Asset Building Group and the Social IMPACT Research Center at the Heartland Alliance, a Midwest anti-poverty organization.

The credit score gap between white and minority communities fuels racial inequality in the state, the "Trapped by Credit" report concludes.

In general, the report found that communities of color in Illinois are less likely than mostly white neighborhoods to have well-being indicators associated with stronger credit scores, such as higher levels of educational attainment and greater rates of homeownership and employment.

Similarly, communities of color have on average lower levels of "good debt" from student or home loans and higher levels of "bad debt" from sources like credit cards.

Since good credit scores help people gain access to better jobs, homeownership and higher education, "a cycle emerges where low credit scores feed decreased financial and social opportunity, which in turn feeds low credit scores," the report reads.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:05pm
Tue Oct 8, 2013

Report: Downtown Chicago Job Growth Excludes Most City Residents

A new study shows that 52,404 new jobs came to downtown Chicago between 2002 and 2011 thanks to economic development investments, yet only one in four of those positions went to city residents.

Suburbanites and people in prosperous Chicago communities like Lakeview and Lincoln Park mostly gained those jobs, and residents in the city's predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods were largely excluded, the report issued Tuesday by Grassroots Collaborative found.

From 2004 to 2008, the city spent more than $1.2 billion in public, tax increment financing (TIF) funds for these type of downtown, job creation investments, according to the report called, “Downtown Prosperity, Neighborhood Neglect: Chicago’s Black and Latino Workers Left Behind.”

"This type of development creates disparities clearly along racial lines, and the city should not be endorsing policies that shift more money to a smaller group of the city," said Eric Tellez, research and data manager with Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of community and labor groups. "For all of the city to do well, all of its residents need to do well. Prioritizing downtown development to the exclusion of neighborhoods is an economic development strategy that is failing most people in the city."