• The City Council Committee on Finance met for less than five minutes Tuesday morning because no one signed up to submit public testimony on a proposed ordinance to issue additional Multi-Family Housing Revenue Bonds, capped at $2.5M, for the Goldblatts Supported Living Project, a redevelopment project turning a former Goldblatt's Department Store building into an affordable housing complex for senior citizens. Pursuant to federal tax law, the City must hold a public hearing, known as a TEFRA hearing, before the full City Council can approve the issuance of these types of bonds. Chairman Ed Burke (14) read a prepared statement before adjourning the meeting. The City’s Department of Planning requested additional bonds to pay for higher than expected construction costs associated with the project.

    TEFRA hearings, named after the federal Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 and the federal Tax Reform Act of 1986, are mandated by the Internal Revenue Service to provide a reasonable opportunity for interested individuals to express their views, either orally or in writing, on the issuance of bonds and the nature of the improvements and projects for which the bond funds will be allocated.

    There was no discussion on Ald. Joe Moreno’s (1) proposed ordinance to amend permit fees SSAs have to pay to provide services in the public way. Raymond Valadez, Ald. Moreno’s Chief of Staff, says the item was incorrectly scheduled for yesterday and will be discussed at the Finance Committee’s next meeting in June.

    Committee Members Present: Chairman Ed Burke (14), Marty Quinn (13), Matt O’Shea (19), Michael Zalewski (23), Jason Ervin (28), Ariel Reboyras (30), Scott Waguespack (32). Newly elected Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) was also present in the Council Chambers, but he is not a member of the committee.

  • Hailing the ordinance as a good first step and touting the mayor’s support, a group of aldermen, workers, business owners, and labor gathered in the City Hall 2nd floor hallway on the first day after inauguration in support of paid sick days for private employees.

    The press conference included speeches from workers like Abraham Cabrera of ARISE, who said he’s been working in food delivery for 15 years and never had a paid sick day, putting his childrens’ well-being at risk. Christine Cikowski, the owner of Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale, spoke, saying that while her business does offer paid sick leave, the fact that other private businesses do not hurts her bottom line. Photo here.

    Melissa Joseph, director of equal opportunity policy at Women Employed, said, “82% of voters support earned sick time. How is anyone going to step away from that? This is law in 18 other cities, and three states. This is a public safety issue.”

    Ald. Joe Moreno (1), who sponsored a similar ordinance last year, called the new ordinance made public Tuesday “a starting point,” but no one at the press conference specified a timeline for passing the ordinance, and referred questions to the mayor’s office. “If we don’t see progress we’ll have a different kind of press conference,” Moreno said.  Other aldermen attendees included Jason Ervin (28), Raymond Lopez (15), John Arena (45), Walter Burnett, Jr. (27), Carlos Rosa (35) and Toni Foulkes (16).

    In a non-binding city-wide referendum in this year’s general election, 82 percent of voters answered “Yes” on whether private employers should offer paid sick leave. Many supporters at Tuesday’s press conference, including members of ARISE Chicago and Teamsters Local 742, and Women Employed, held up signs saying so.

    The ordinance calls for earned sick time:

    • For a personal family illness or preventive care

    • Due to incident of domestic or sexual violence

    • Because of school or building closure due to a public health emergency

    • Full and part-time employees:could earn 40 hours of sick time per year if employer has fewer than 10 employees

    • Full and part-time employees:could earn 72 hours of sick time per year if employer has more than 10 employees, accrued hourly for every 30 hours worked.

  • Following yesterday's inaugural festivities, the Progressive Caucus sent out a release laying out their priorities:

    • "ensuring that the City upholds its end of the pension promise to its workers"

    • passing legislation for "earned sick time and paid maternity and parental leave" and $15 an hour minium wage

    • "hiring at least 500 new police officers above the rate of attrition"

    • "expand the capacity of the Inspector General"

    • "fighting for an elected, representative school board, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for our teachers, and by calling for increased accountability for charter schools"

    The Caucus is made up of 11 members: Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10), Ald. Toni Foulkes (16), Ald. David Moore (17), Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22), Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35), Ald. Nick Sposato (38) and Ald. John Arena (45).
  • The new terms for Chicago’s elected officials commenced Monday at a packed Chicago Theater with a stage full of celebrating politicals, their families, and concluded with a speech from Mayor Rahm Emanuel that was long on aspirations and short on solutions.

    As inaugurations tend to be, the event had plenty of symbolism. Bookended by a blessing from a West Side, predominately Latino church and a passionate rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” from the South Side-based Chicago Children’s Choir, Mayor Emanuel’s nineteen minute speech focused on Chicago’s duty to its youth and the need to recover a “lost generation” in some of Chicago’s most disadvantaged communities. The speech mentioned “youth” or “children” 36 times, but only mentioned “pension” once, with no word of the city’s budget woes.

    The speech sidestepped specific policy goals and the fiscal problems looming over city government. As many other news outlets have pointed out, because of our money problems, it seems that the big pieces of Chicago’s future will be decided over a table in Springfield, not City Hall. Emanuel chose to not only ignore that fact–recently brought home by Gov. Bruce Rauner in a speech to City Council–but talk about something else entirely.

    The audience, chock full of mayoral supporters and aldermanic friends and family, cheered on the Mayor’s speech, roaring with approval at its completion–with a vitality only matched by the greeting given to former Mayor Richard M. Daley and former President Bill Clinton when they took the stage at the beginning of the ceremonies.

    In contrast to the 2011 inauguration ceremonies, which was held outdoors at the Pritzker Pavilion and open to the general public, getting into this year’s event required tickets and for attendees to squeeze through a phalanx of Chicago police. A highly controlled event, there were still a few unplanned moments, such as the reappearance of the guy who had yelled, “Nice!” at Emanuel’s Election Night party; he somehow figured out how to reprise his line at the top of his lungs about eight times during the ceremonies.

    But even before the Mayor took over the mic to discuss Chicago’s most vulnerable–he was the penultimate speaker–several speakers referenced the same theme.

    The inauguration included the showstopping poem from Harold Green III, “Something to Live For”, which illustrates the struggles many living in poverty face, and the blessing administered by Fellowship Flock Church Pastor Lynette Santiago, who gave a modern take on the Christian Beatitudes, which asks those to bless those less fortunate.

    Speaking after the festivities, several aldermen praised the Mayor for addressing what they believe to be an issue that doesn't get a lot of attention at City Hall. And when asked if the Mayor should have spent more time on addressing the city's financial issues, many aldermen agree that just because it wasn't discussed, it doesn't mean everyone isn’t thinking about it.

    Ald. George Cardenas (12) called the inaugural speech “very motivational” and praised the Mayor for “sending a strong message of optimism.” When asked about the Mayor’s decision to sidestep the issue of the city’s finances, Ald. Cardenas said it was “more important” for the City Council to, “talk about the little things that mean a lot”, adding, “I think the financial piece we’ll figure it out. I think eventually we’ll come to terms that there are some things that we need to put on the table and make some concessions to get our house in order.”

    Aldermen Willie Cochran (20), Walter Burnett (27), and Joe Moore (49) agree.

    “His speech was directed straight at the areas where we have the biggest challenges in our community: focusing on family, resources, support, and overcoming challenges,” Ald. Cochran said, adding the state of the city and state’s finances aren’t,  “something we are unfamiliar with.”

    “I thought it was timely, fitting,” Ald. Burnett, one of the Mayor’s biggest supporters in the Council, said of the Mayor’s focus on youth. “Of course we did not talk much about the financial challenges we have ahead of us. I thought something would be spoken about that.” Burnett added, “I think that making sure our kids are safe and get a good education is all part of our financial challenges,” Burnett said both issues go, “hand-in-hand.” Burnett also suggested the theme was a decision likely made following the reaction Emanuel received on the campaign trail. “I think that really gave him a really great opportunity to get more engaged in the communities and feel the pulse [...] and I think the best of us have to help the rest of us.”

    Ald. Moore was equally surprised, but not without praise for Emanuel. “I think everyone was expecting to have, yet another address on the city’s fiscal crisis,” Ald. Moore said. “We’re all very aware that we have some very tough decisions to make, but far too often ignored in the political discourse is the crisis facing our young people.” Ald. Moore’s Ward, which includes Rogers Park, is plagued with much of the youth violence and poverty the Mayor addressed in the speech.

    Even Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), a member of the Progressive Caucus, commended Emanuel for giving a  “hopeful” speech and liked the Mayor’s promise of  increased cooperation with the City Council, something Ald. Sawyer says was missing during Emanuel’s first term. “I am happy to talk to [Mayor Emanuel] at any time,” Sawyer said. “You know, I’ve already talked to him more this term than I had the whole first term. The cooperation has been really great, so I am really encouraged by that.”

    New Alderman Milly Santiago (31), who ran as a “progressive” and aligned her runoff campaign with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, also defended the Mayor for not addressing the financial issues facing the city, saying there is a time and place for such a discussion and an inauguration isn’t one of them. When asked if she was surprised by the speech, Santiago responded, “Remember, this is a day of celebration, and I think people expected some sort of a soft statement, a soft speech to welcome all the new members of [the] City Council.” She says she and the other new members had a recent discussion with the Mayor on the “tough issues [they’ll] be facing”. She plans to  “compromise and work” with the Mayor “in any way possible, if the changes and and his promises are real”.

    Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) replied in similar fashion. “I think that we all know that is the issue and we are going to be addressing that. I think today what the Mayor was doing was reaching out to all of Chicago to get engaged and help solve this problem.” Thompson added, “Obviously, financially, we want to leave this place better to the next generation than we had it, and our parents did a good job [..] We want to make sure that we engage the youth because they are the new leaders of tomorrow. So, I think, it’s important to have them involved.” Ald. Thompson said that when the time does come to discuss the city’s finances, “everything will be on the table” when the city looks for new sources of revenue.

    Unlike his peers, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) was not as thrilled about or encouraged by the Mayor’s pivot to disenfranchised youth. “He didn’t mention the words pension, finances, or the crisis that we have in those areas,” Ald. Waguespack said, calling it a “lost opportunity” to detail a plan and suggested the Mayor’s silence indicated there isn’t a plan. “You can’t address the death and destruction and the poverty and the  education woes that we have without fixing the finances at the same time,” Ald. Waguespack said a lot of communities and local organizations are already working on the issues related to the Mayor’s speech and it will be the job of the Progressive Caucus to keep Mayor Emanuel accountable and focused on addressing the city’s pension debt, which Ald. Waguespack called a funding issue. “The whole city is counting on us to do that. I don’t think anyone else will.  We have to step up and we’re going to have to provide solutions.”

  • Mike Fourcher
    MAY 18, 2015

    Inauguration Day

    Today Aldermen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Treasurer Kurt Summers and Clerk Susana Mendoza will be sworn in for a new four year term at 10:30 a.m. at the Chicago Theater. The event is invitation only. Aldertrack will be tweeting photos from the event along with our usual witty observations.

    If you've missed it, we've been running profiles of all the incoming new aldermen. We also interviewed a few during the election cycle. Here's links to the video interviews, campaign debates and the profiles we've done so far.

    2nd Ward – Brian Hopkins - Video Interview - Profile
    10th Ward – Susan Sadlowski Garza - Debate
    15th Ward – Raymond Lopez - Video Interview - Debate - Profile
    17th Ward – David Moore - Profile
    18th Ward – Derrick Curtis - Video Interview
    24th Ward – Michael Scott, Jr. - Video Interview - Debate - Profile
    26th Ward – Robert Maldonado - Video Interview
    29th Ward – Chris Taliaferro - Debate - Profile
    31st Ward – Milly Santiago - Video Interview - Profile
    35th Ward – Carlos Rosa - Video Interview - Profile
    41st Ward – Anthony Napolitano - Profile
  • Susan Sadlowski Garza will become the first Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) member to serve on the City Council when she is officially sworn in to office today. She says the biggest change to come to the 10th Ward–which was helmed by John Pope for 16 years–boils down to one issue: more community input.

    And for Garza, who represents a ward with some of the fewest boundary changes in the city, a former industrial powerhouse until the late 1990s, that doesn’t just mean constituent services. The 10th Ward is home to one of the biggest plots of undeveloped land, roughly 600 acres of prime real estate on Chicago’s lakefront. It’s the last and largest piece of undeveloped lakefront land in the city, and Garza wants complete transparency between the site’s developers, McCaffrey Interests, and the residents who live near by.

    “I want to make sure that whatever is put there is a green [project] with union-led jobs, and that people in the neighborhood have a say in what is happening. We need to have a community benefits agreement,” Garza said, adding that she is  looking forward to sitting down with the developer to work out a plan for the former U.S. Steel South Works site that first opened in 1901.

    McCaffery Interests is partnering with U.S Steel to develop the land. They have proposed building more than 13,000 single family and high rise units, 17.5 million square feet of retail space, 125 acres of open park space, a marina with docking stations and a new high school. The city has already rerouted and built a new South Shore Drive, U.S. 41, through the site.

    Garza is not opposed to development. In fact, she say there has been too little investment in the area, and most of the ward is old and in need of serious repair. “I just don’t want gentrification [and] there has to be affordable housing,” Garza adds.

    Garza is a lifelong resident of the 10th Ward and has worked for Chicago Public Schools for 20 years. Her last job prior to her election was as an Area Vice-President of the CTU. She oversaw 69 schools, including all public schools in the 10th Ward. A daughter of one of Chicago’s last regional Steelworkers' District leaders, Ed Sadlowski, Garza has strong labor ties, which came in handy this election cycle. The labor umbrella group United Working Families (UWF) put a significant amount of money and manpower to help her through the runoff, one of the biggest fights after during the runoff.

    Garza was named the official winner of the 10th Ward race when the Board of Elections certified the results on April 23rd, but with the threat of legal action from the Pope campaign, she remained in limbo up until last week, when Pope withdrew his court petition and conceded the race. On reflecting on the extended campaign, Garza laughed and said, “It was a long couple of weeks. Let me tell you.”  She adds that she is ready to move forward and get started on the following priorities.

    Citywide Priorities: Creating an elected School Board, addressing the pension crisis and finding different revenue sources, like expanding the sales tax, are at the top of Garza’s list. Being the only CTU member on the City Council, Garza says that gives her an advantage of, “having a deep inside of what goes on inside the [city’s] schools”. When asked if she thinks the City Council should have more oversight of CPS, she said “absolutely not”, because she believes educators are the only ones who should be making decisions on education policy.

    Local Priorities: In addition to the development project on the lakeshore, Garza will focus most of her energy on building up her constituent service office. She accused incumbent alderman John Pope of having too little transparency in the ward. She plans to institute participatory budgeting and form advisory committees on education, traffic, safety, and business, so that, “everyone has a say in how it’s done”. She says she has already received numerous calls and had “so people walk into her office” to say that they are excited to get started on putting everything together.

    Caucus Alignment: Garza is committed to the Progressive Caucus and will consider joining others after she gets settled. She says that she has already received a lot of help with the transition from Ed Burke (14), Pat O’Connor (40), and Rick Munoz (22).

    Ward Office: 10500 S. Ewing Ave.
  • The Finance Committee approved $771,320 in legal settlements related to a class action lawsuit filed against illegal permit parking receipts and a medical malpractice suit. They also approved additional bonds to the Goldblatt’s senior living center project in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Complete agenda.

    The committee met briefly Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Originally scheduled for the morning, Ald. Ed Burke (14) changed the time so he could spend the morning with Ald. James Balcer (11) at O’Hare Field for a ceremonial return of a fallen soldier.

    Committee members present (6 of 34 members): Chairman Ed Burke (14), Marty Quinn (13), Willie Cochran (20), Howard Brookins Jr. (21), Jason Ervin (28), Ariel Reboyras (30).

    The committee approved two legal settlements totalling $771,320 brought by the city’s Law Department.

    1. Scott D.H. Redman. individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff. v. City of Chicago, Defendant, cited as 13 C 3810. [Amount $571,320]

    On May 17, 2013, Scott D.H. Redman used his credit card to buy a residential parking permit and noticed the city-contracted vendor put too much of his credit card information on the receipt, which is against the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, or FACTA statute, so he filed a class action lawsuit against the city, according to Leslie Darling, 1st Assistant Corporation Counsel, who testified on behalf of the City’s Law Department.

    According to FACTA, it is illegal for a customer receipt to display more than five digits of a credit card number and the card’s expiration date. Darling says the city didn’t know about the non-compliant customer recipients until Redman filed the class action lawsuit against the city. She adds that the issue has been fixed and the vendor will reimburse the city for the full cost of the settlement, which is 20% of the Redman’s original demand of $2.75 million. Redman has filed several of these types of complaints,  according to court records.

    Ald. Jason Ervin (28), the only committee member to question Darling’s testimony, wanted to know how many people received noncompliant receipts. Darling responded that 19,044 noncompliant receipts were issued between Jan 21st 2013 and May 29, 2013. She says that those people will be notified once the full council approves the settlement, which amounts to $30 per receipt.

    2. Linda Jackson v Dr. Edward J. Potash and City of Chicago, cited as 10 L 011424 [Amount: $200,000]

    Linda Jackson suffered lithium toxicity and kidney damage caused by a perscription she received from a doctor at one of the city run health clinics. She now receives kidney dialysis three times a week while she awaits a kidney transplant. According to Darling, “The prescribing doctor acknowledged, in his testimony, a lapse of judgement and that his prescription and combination with the lithium was not recommended in the absence of close monitoring of the patient’s blood values, which was not done here.” Darling says the settlement is a, “cost effective measure to limit the city’s financial exposure,” and Ald. Burke agreed calling it a, “pretty good deal for the taxpayers”. The committee approved the settlement without any questions.

    3. A communication recommending the proposed ordinance authorizing the City to enter into and execute a Loan Agreement with Goldblatts, the authority to issue City of Chicago Multi-Family Housing Revenue Bonds, Series 2015, (Goldblatts Supportive Living Project), and a Supplement to the Loan Agreement with Goldblatts of Chicago Limited Partnership. Amount of bonds not to exceed: $2,500,000 

    The third item on the agenda, brought by the Department of Planning and Development and the Mayor’s Office, asks the city to approve the issuance of additional City of Chicago Multi-Family Revenue Bonds to pay for higher than expected construction costs associated with the Goldblatts Supporting Living Project. The bonds would be capped at $2.5 million. Cities approve these federal bonds to help finance the construction of multi-family housing projects catered to low-income families or elderly residents, the latter of which applies to this case.

    The city already issued $18 million dollars worth of multi-family revenue bonds and and approved a $3.9 million dollar loan to help pay for the redevelopment plan to turn the historic Goldblatts Department Store building in the Back of the Yards neighborhood into a senior living center with 101-units.

    But according to Lawrence Grisham, who testified on behalf of the Planning Department, additional bonds are needed because of higher project costs due to, “the historic preservation of the building,” and, “structural issues discovered during construction”. Grisham says the city needs to issue a new set of bonds because the original bond agreement, approved by the council in 2013, said the city-issued multi-family revenue bonds must pay for 50% of the project. Since the project costs more than expected, more bonds must be issued so the project does not fail the “50% test”. The committee approved.

    Ald. Willie Cochran (20) testified in favor of the bonds. The project is in his ward and he says he is “very proud” of this project because it helps a vulnerable population and preserves a city landmark. Ald. Burke also spoke in favor and reminisced on the fact that the department store use to be in the 14th Ward.

    Ald. Burke also deferred one of the eight items on the agenda–a proposed ordinance to exempt and alter certain permit fees Special Service Areas (SSAs) have to pay to the city–because the sponsor, Ald. Joe Moreno (1), had a prior engagement and could not attend Friday’s meeting. The ordinance [O2014-6897] will be on next week’s Finance Committee agenda. There is also a public hearing for the Goldblatts bonds scheduled for the same day.

    Items 4-8, filed under “Miscellaneous” business, passed without discussion because they are “routine matters.”

    4. One proposed order authorizing two applications for City of Chicago Charitable Solution (Tag Day) permits.

    A. Hegewisch Girls Softball League
    May 29-30,2015

    B. RTW Veterans Center
    June 24, 2015 - August 24, 2015

    5. Four (4) orders authorizing the payment of hospital and medical expenses of police officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty.

    6. A proposed order authorizing the payment of various small claims against the City of Chicago.

    7. A proposed order denying the payment of various small claims against the City of Chicago.

    8. A proposed order authorizing the payment of senior citizen rebate sewer claims.

  • Newly-elected Alderman Chris Taliferro has quite a term ahead of him. Just days after the City of Chicago’s bond rating was dropped to “junk” and the state’s pension plan was ruled unconstitutional, the 29th Ward alderman predicted the pension problem will be Council’s top priority, “I have no doubt.”

    Taliaferro says the rush of the past few days preparing for his new term have been a blur. He’s an attorney and is upset that he hasn’t had time to read the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision yet. But as a former police officer expecting a pension, he says he agrees with the ruling. “I know it’s unconstitutional to reduce or remove or take any benefits that were bargained for,” he tells Aldertrack, “It really affects my pension as well, through the Chicago Police Department.”

    This is Taliferro’s first elected office. He defeated Ald. Deborah Graham, who had big backing from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Forward–together, they donated $120,000 to her campaign. But Taliaferro came out on top April 7, with 52% of the vote.

    Despite the enormous task of helping to set Chicago’s financial future straight, Taliaferro refuses to accept he’s facing big challenges. “I look forward to Monday. I have a vision for the residents of the 29th Ward and I know I’m going to have their support 110%.”

    Some of Taliferro’s other thoughts before Inauguration Day:

    Top Priorities for 29th Ward: Taliaferro says he’s confronting two big tasks in the 29th ward, which includes Austin, Galewood and parts of Montclare, Belmont Heights and West Garfield Park: crime and economic development. The Ald.-Elect says that might sound like a familiar refrain from his ward’s alderman, but he says, “there are several businesses that approached me about coming to Austin. These are ones that want to grow with the community.”

    But first, he says, Austin has to solve its crime problem. Taliferro is a former Marine who taught weapons and tactics during Operation Desert Storm, and started serving with the Chicago Police Department in 1994. He currently serves as a sergeant in the 25th District, which includes Austin. “We have to reduce crime, especially in summer months.”

    Taliferro says he’s entertained the idea of creating a police substation in areas that need them most. He says Cook County 1st District Commissioner Richard Boykin has brought up the idea of bringing in the Cook County Sheriff's Department to help the Chicago Police Department.

    “Once we clean up the crime or reduce the crime, I think that is such a rich, rich area” that businesses will make their way to Austin.

    Possible partners on Council: Taliaferro wouldn’t disclose which aldermen he plans to work with, but says he’s “reached out, sat down, had lunch, gone by their offices,” and several aldermen have offered guidance. He says he is a member of the Progressive Caucus and has plans to join the Black Caucus.

    Committee interests: The Ald.-Elect says serving on Public Safety is a natural fit, but he’s under the impression he’ll serve on four or more others.

    What he wants others to know about the 29th Ward: “I think we’re going to fight hard to change the misconception of the West Side particularly. The West Side is a rich and vibrant community, so we’re going to fight hard to rejuvenate and revitalize it. It’s not just known for crime or being an impoverished community or the unemployment rate. It’s a great community to live in.”

    Other details: His chief of staff will be Pamela Anderson, and his ward office will be located at 6272 W. North Ave.
  • Last weekend Chicago lost one of its most vibrant citizens, North Side campaign worker, former Ald. Eugene Schulter staffer and North Center Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Garrett FitzGerald, who passed after a two year struggle with brain cancer. A man who defined the term bon vivant, Garrett was not the creator, but he lifted his chamber's annual Rib Fest into one of the city's best neighborhood festivals with genuinely great music acts, a disgustingly fun rib eating contest and more. Garrett also took his Chamber duties seriously by supporting many local businesses, including one of my earlier publications, Center Square Journal, extending himself more than many other local chamber directors.

    Because it was fun, Garrett had bought an old electric golf cart, affixed it with a big North Center Chamber "N", and then would drive up and down Lincoln Avenue with a big grin on his face, especially during Rib Fest. I'll always remember him that way.

    He is survived by his wife Alicia and daughter Bridget. Visitation is at Grein Funeral Directors, 2114 W. Irving Park Rd, Friday, May 15 from 3:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m. and a funeral mass at St. Benedict's Church, 2215 W. Irving Park Rd, Saturday, May 16 at 11:00 a.m. Rather than sending flowers, the family asks you consider giving to Voices Against Brain Cancer or Neumann Family Services.
  • After defeating nine other candidates for retiring Ald. Michael Chandler’s open 24th Ward seat, Ald.-elect Michael Scott, Jr. says he has big plans to “shake things up” and “end business as usual” in the West Side ward he’s called home for the past 38-years.

    “Change is always an issue for everybody, and what I hope to do is something different than what has been happening in our community for the past twenty-to-twenty five years,” Scott explained.

    The son of late Chicago Public School Board President Michael Scott, Sr. had name recognition and help from several sitting Council members in his bid for the open seat. However, with so many candidates on the February 24th ballot, he was forced into a runoff against business woman Vetress Boyce, which he then handedly won with 67% of the vote. Ultimately a large crowd of sitting aldermen helped Scott earn his win, including the incumbent Ald. Chandler, Ald. Jason Ervin (28), Ald. Carrie Austin (34), Ald. Walter Burnett (27), and former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith.

    Local Priorities: After 12 years serving as a Chicago Park District Area Manager, Scott says he’ll take a different approach from most aldermen before him by focusing his efforts on cleaning up the ward. “Everyone talks about [bringing] economic development and businesses to the ward, but I think that we need to start by cleaning up the ward. When I toured the ward, one thing I noticed was how unkempt and uncleanly the ward is,” Scott explained that shortly after he was elected, he and campaign volunteers had a ward-wide cleanup day. Scott believes that by tackling cleanliness first, the rest of the ward’s problems, like high crime and low economic investment, will be easier to manage because they are all interconnected.

    On crime, Scott says he’s working with area police commanders to “improve” the relationship between the community and police so there is more of a “community policing model.” Scott says that once those two issues are addressed, more businesses will want to invest in the ward, bring jobs and spur development.

    “I had plenty of opportunities to leave this community because of the direction I thought it was going in,” Scott concluded, noting that he has lived in the North Lawndale community for all his life. “However, my father always told me, ‘if you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.’ And what I intend to be is part of the solution for the lack of economic development, fixing public safety, and cleanliness.”

    Citywide Priorities: Addressing the city’s finances, finding new sources of revenue and balancing the budget are key for the new Council, says Scott.  “We need to start figuring out a way to raise revenue.” He notes that he does not advocate raising or adding new taxes, but is aware that the city can’t afford to following in Springfield’s footsteps and balance the budget by slashing city services that many in his constituents depend on.

    Caucus Alignment: Scott says he has been approached by members of the Progressive and Black Caucus and will likely join the latter because he and most of his constituents are African American. “I am going to be independent, other than the Black Caucus, right now,” Scott explained. “I am willing to talk to whomever if they are going to advance the issues that involve the entire city, and I will support those that directly impact the residents of the 24th Ward.” When pressed further to explain why he won’t be joining the Progressive Caucus, Scott replied that he doesn’t want to prematurely commit to a group whose agenda is not yet known. “I want to make sure that all of my options are open and I can make as many friends as I can in the Council because my ward needs as much help as it can get from a many number of sources I can,” Scott said.

    Ward Office: Scott will use Michael Chandler’s old ward office on 4200 W. Roosevelt Rd. As of publication he had not determined a chief of staff.