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Participatory Budgeting
Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
7:32pm
Tue Feb 17, 2015

Stamps Centers Campaign Around Education In Chicago's 37th Ward Race

Community activist Marion Stamps fought for the rights of public housing residents displaced by the demolition of the Cabrini Green housing development on the near North Side when she ran for 27th Ward alderman in 1995.

Twenty years later, her daughter, Tara Stamps, is fighting in that same vein, but focusing her fight on education. She is among four challengers, including Leroy Duncan, Maretta Brown-Miller and Otis Percy, running against West Side Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) in the February 24 municipal election.

The 2013 closing of 50 Chicago Public Schools, an influx of charter schools, and excessive red light and speed camera fines are examples of the failed policies that have led to disinvestment in black and Latino neighborhoods, according to Stamps. The time was right, she added, to stand up against such actions.

"While I still have my mother's passion, and I share many of her beliefs about community, this fight is my fight," said the mother of three and teacher of 18 years. "It's authentic to me because I understand how all of this is connected to education."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Wed Jan 28, 2015

Deb Mell Takes Heat For Family Ties At 33rd Ward Candidate Forum

Aldermanic candidates running in Chicago's 33rd Ward sounded off on issues ranging from the minimum wage and charter schools to "political dynasties" and "machine politics" at a Tuesday evening forum sponsored by several Northwest Side neighborhood groups.

In Chicago's 33rd Ward, incumbent Ald. Deb Mell is being challenged by Tim Meegan, a public school teacher at Roosevelt High School, and Annisa Wanat, a non-profit consultant and former Peace Corps volunteer. Mell, the daughter of former Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), was appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fill her father's council seat after he retired in July 2013.

At the packed candidate forum held at Newton Bateman Elementary School, Mell touted a number of accomplishments in her 18 months as alderman, including efforts around affordable housing, cracking down on "absentee" landlords, making the ward office more accessible and voting to raise the minimum wage to $13 by 2019.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:54am
Tue Sep 23, 2014

Karen Lewis Meets With Voters: ‘I’m Qualified To Be Mayor’ (VIDEO)

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis met with residents of the McKinley Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side Monday night and discussed how she would run City Hall if she were elected to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Lewis touched on a myriad of subjects ranging from budgeting, tax increment financing (TIF) and housing to confronting violence in Chicago at the Monday night forum, held at the New Era Windows Cooperative, 2600 W. 35th St., as part of the ongoing “Conversations with Karen” series.

“What qualifies me to be the mayor, is that I care deeply about this city and I care deeply about the entirety of the city,” she said.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:48pm
Thu Oct 24, 2013

Breaking Down Emanuel's 2014 Chicago Budget

Although Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 2014 budget unveiled Wednesday includes no increases on property, sales and gas taxes, some aldermen say the plan relies too heavily on hiking other fees and fines to help reduce the city's $339 million deficit. Progress Illinois provides an overview of the mayor's budget plan.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:54pm
Wed Jul 31, 2013

Disability Rights Advocates Continue Call For Equal Access To Southwest Side CTA Bus Route (VIDEO)

Despite a renovated bus stop at the corner of 31st Street and Spaulding Avenue, activists are saying people with disabilities are still denied equal access to public transportation and full equality in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side.

“This is a great win, but there is still a lot of work left to be done,” said Adam Ballard, an organizer for the disability advocacy group Access Living.

The newly-renovated bus station received fresh cement and sidewalk ramps in June, thanks to Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd), who dedicated $230,000 from his ward’s menu money, which is a pot of discretionary funds designed for infrastructure projects.

Ballard, whose mobility is limited to a wheelchair because he was born with arthrogryposis, joined activists and community residents on Wednesday morning to celebrate what participants called a “partial victory.”

“This is just the beginning, and now we have to continue to push for the rest of the area to get renovated,” he said.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:50pm
Thu Apr 11, 2013

49th Ward Hosts Community Budgeting Meeting Geared Towards Latino Community

Rogers Park residents gathered for the final installation of the 49th ward Participatory Budgeting Project Expo last night and listened to proposed infrastructure projects for their community.

The meeting, which was entirely in Spanish, was geared specifically for Rogers Park’s Hispanic residents.

Project organizers said they hoped the Spanish-language meeting would boost civic engagement from the community’s Hispanic population.

“It’s been a challenge to get the Latino community to participate, and the idea was that if we provided them with a space where they could dialogue about the projects it would be easier for Spanish-speakers to participate,” said Jose Melendez, a volunteer mentor to the Participatory Budgeting Spanish Language Committee and member of the Participatory Budgeting Leadership Committee.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:57pm
Tue Apr 9, 2013

Uptown Residents Unveil Community-Inspired Projects At Participatory Budgeting Expo

Uptown residents laid out their plans last night on how they’d like to divvy up the 46th Ward’s $1.3 million “menu money” budget as part of a new participatory budgeting process some Chicago aldermen are adopting.

Each year, Chicago aldermen receive city funds and decide how to use the pot of money for infrastructure needs in their wards, such as improving sidewalks, traffic signals and streetlights. 

The participatory budgeting process allows residents to decide how the money is spent based on a community vote.

Prior to participatory budgeting, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said he and his staffers would ride their bikes down streets and alleys looking for areas of improvement in the ward, which was “very inefficient.”

“This (participatory budgeting) process understands that those people who know the ward the best are those who live in it,” Cappleman said to about 30 residents at an expo yesterday showcasing the proposed projects.