• Michael McDevitt
    MAY 08, 2024

    News in brief: Transportation committee to vote on controversial RTA board appointment; License committee to align 23rd Ward peddling prohibitions to new boundaries


    Alderpeople on Wednesday will consider a new transit board appointment that has drawn some questions, and the license committee will consider a measure to align a longstanding ban on peddlers within the 23rd Ward with the new ward boundaries.

    TRANSIT BOARD APPOINTMENT — The City Council Committee on Transportation and Public Way will vote Wednesday on a mayoral appointment (A2024-0008919) to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board that has drawn some controversy. Rev. Ira Acree was appointed by the mayor to the RTA transit board last month despite having no transit expertise, although Streetsblog reported that supporters of the appointment argue Acree is well-versed in disparities affecting the West Side, including inequities in transit access. Acree is the pastor at Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin and is a founding member and co-chair of The Leaders Network, a faith-based organization that advocates for social justice, economic prosperity, education and quality-of-life issues on the city’s West Side and in wider Chicago. Acree was one of the candidates who sought an appointment to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s former Cook County Board of Commissioners seat last year. The appointment comes after Johnson’s appointment (A2024-0008368) of another West Side pastor, Michael Eaddy, to the Chicago Transit Authority board was also scrutinized because Eaddy lacked professional transportation experience though serves on the Illinois Medical District Commission and previous sat on the Chicago Police Board, according to Block Club Chicago. Eaddy was confirmed by the City Council in April with a unanimous vote and one absence. If Acree’s appointment is approved by the transportation committee, the City Council will get the final say later this month. The transportation committee will meet at 11 a.m. in Room 201A at City Hall.

    LICENSE COMMITTEE PREVIEW — The City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection will meet Wednesday to consider an ordinance (O2024-0008773) that aligns existing prohibitions on peddlers in the 23rd Ward to reflect the new boundaries adopted in 2022. Ward-wide peddling prohibitions were adopted under Ald. Silvana Tabares’ (23) predecessor, Ald. Michael Zalewski, she told The Daily Line, and the ordinance up for consideration Wednesday would update city code to account for the redrawing of the city’s ward maps that was approved in 2022. Tabares said she is advocating for maintaining the prohibitions because peddlers sell “unregulated” food products that compete with and take revenue away from the small brick-and-mortar businesses in her ward. She also said peddlers are sometimes a public safety issue, citing an instance in which peddlers have sold illegal fireworks around the July 4th holiday. Peddlers, defined within city code as those who go from place to place along public or private property to sell or exchange “any goods, wares, merchandise, wood, fruits, vegetables or produce from a vehicle or otherwise.” Peddlers covered under the code must be licensed by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection in order to peddle most goods. The committee will meet at 10 a.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

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