Find The Daily Line Guest Commentaries Below

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    A bitter battle over Chicago's ward remap has been front and center in the news lately, portrayed by the media as a power struggle between the Black and Latino caucuses. But nobody has started talking about the 20 brand-new Chicago school board districts that legislators will soon need to create. 

    Drawing a whole new map of school board districts is a complicated process that ought to be considered carefully. For starters, we need to talk about race and fair representation without allowing the conversation to be mischaracterized as a battle of Black vs. Brown. The racial demographics of Chicago are very different from those of the CPS student body: Chicago is almost one-third white, while CPS is 90% children of color.

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    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois followed a “Restore Illinois” model ranging from “Phase 1: Rapid Spread” to “Phase 5: Illinois Restored.” Illinois has already achieved Phase 5, and we are looking forward to our future beyond this pandemic. However, as we turn from the past two years our view of the future is obstructed by a mirror. In its reflection are the side effects of the past two years of COVID-19 mitigations and our eyes adjust to reveal the realities staring back at us. They are difficult to stomach.

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    The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has been handling a steady stream of calls from frustrated gas customers wondering why they’re on the hook to pay hundreds of dollars more to heat their homes—and Chicago is the epicenter of this heating-affordability crisis.

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    Adriann Murawski

    As Cook County debates how to spend federal dollars, commissioners must consider the impact of real estate on the overall economy. Illinois needs an estimated 270,000 more homes to meet demand. Statewide, we have less than two months of housing inventory available, but Illinois trails all five other states in our Midwest region for new housing permits this year.

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    Chicago and our country are facing uncertain times. Take, for instance, the labor market and gun violence: long Covid and childcare problems have made some workers drop out, while legal firearm purchases have percolated out onto the streets and factored into the nationwide uptick in gun violence. With these and other issues beyond easy control, however, any source of increased stability is a welcome measure. That’s exactly why Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago’s City Council should initiate another phased-in minimum wage increase ending by 2025 or so at somewhere around $18 or $19 an hour.

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    On Sunday, another severe storm in a series of climate-fueled weather swept through the Chicago area, causing 96,000 households to lose power and widespread damage including downed trees.

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    The recent spate of climate-focused legislation in Springfield and Washington provides hope.

    Before 2050 Illinois could operate with 100 percent clean energy and emit net zero carbon emissions, an outcome of the clean energy bill recently signed by Gov. JB Pritzker. Millions in federal subsidies will flow into Chicago to upgrade and expand public transportation, if the bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes an additional $39 billion for public transit finds its way to President Joe Biden’s desk. 

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    The Voting in Prisons Bill, Senate Bill 828, is designed to allow currently incarcerated Illinois residents to vote in local, state, and federal elections. There are many reasons why the Illinois Alliance for Reentry & Justice supports its passage.

     

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    Zakat Foundation executive director Halil Demir [left] and Chicago Ald. Matt Martin (47).

    As a result of the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, more than 100,000 brave Afghans who put their lives at risk to work with American military and civilian personnel need urgent resettlement.  Expectations are that a minimum of 500 Afghan refugees will settle in our state, many of them in Chicagoland. We believe that the City of Chicago — its government, its people and its institutions — should embrace these refugees and take steps to ensure they receive the care, services and support they need.

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    The Cook County State’s Attorney has a Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). It was set up years ago by Anita Alvarez in response to the revelation that hundreds of mainly Black and Latino men and women had been framed and tortured by dirty cops like Joseph Miedzianowski, Reynaldo Guevara, Ronald Watts, Kenneth Boudreau, Michael Kill, and John Halloran, to name just a few of the 150 Chicago cops implicated in such cases. It has been continued by Kim Foxx.

    Kim Foxx and the CIU have probably exonerated more people wrongfully convicted than all her predecessors combined. But all of them have been victims of obvious frame-ups by dirty cops Ronald Watts or Reynaldo Guevara. None of them have been people tortured into false confessions by the torture cops such as those working under the notorious Jon Burge.