WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Coping while black: A season of traumatic news takes a psychological toll http://www.wbez.org/news/coping-while-black-season-traumatic-news-takes-psychological-toll-112312 <p><p>Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That&#39;s one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.</p><p>What&#39;s clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call &quot;race-based trauma,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.monnicawilliams.com/">Monnica Williams</a>, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.</p><p>While researchers are still trying to understand exactly how this phenomenon operates, Williams says it&#39;s clear that African-Americans are hit hard by incidents that recall the country&#39;s ugly history of institutionalized racism.</p><p>And such trauma can occur, even vicariously, after events like the recent church attack in Charleston.</p><p>&quot;We hear in the news about African-Americans being shot in a church, and this brings up all sorts of other things and experiences,&quot; Williams says. &quot;Maybe that specific thing has never happened to us. But maybe we&#39;ve had uncles or aunts who have experienced things like this, or we know people in our community [who have], and their stories have been passed down. So we have this whole cultural knowledge of these sorts of events happening, which then sort of primes us for this type of traumatization.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/04/03/298736678/microaggressions-be-careful-what-you-say" target="_blank">Microaggressions</a>, or routine slights, can trigger psychological stress as well, says&nbsp;<a href="http://sites.nationalacademies.org/dbasse/CLAJ/DBASSE_081977">Carl Bell</a>, a psychiatrist and former CEO of the Community Mental Health Council in Chicago. Black people experience everyday racism, Bell says. &quot;That&#39;s the root behind the white woman on the elevator clutching her purse when the black man gets on.&quot; That woman might assume, &quot; &#39;Oh, he&#39;s a killer. He&#39;s a rapist,&#39; &quot; Bell adds.</p><p>And it&#39;s not uncommon for black people to be followed around in stores or outright harassed, says&nbsp;<a href="http://sph.berkeley.edu/amani-nuru-jeter">Amani Nuru-Jeter</a>, a public health professor and epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ap_91123860822-47718e8ec8ec18540b70b5979cca0582b115adc3-s1200.jpg" style="float: right; height: 210px; width: 280px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Smoke billows from a CVS Pharmacy store in Baltimore on April 27. Demonstrators clashed with police after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (Juliet Linderman/AP)" />This subtle type of discrimination can be traumatic, Nuru-Jeter says, when the victims of these slights believe that it is persistent. She points to last year&#39;s fatal encounter between&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/07/29/335847224/what-we-see-in-the-eric-garner-video-and-what-we-dont" target="_blank">New York police and Eric Garner</a>&nbsp;as an example. Garner died after an officer put him in a chokehold.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;ll recall that Eric Garner, before he passed, he said, &#39;I&#39;m tired of you all. I&#39;m tired of you harassing me. I&#39;m tired of you messing with me every day,&#39; &quot; she says. &quot;He was really acknowledging that what he experienced on that one particular day was what he had experienced on many, many other days.&quot;</p><p>For some, Bell adds, &quot;It&#39;s not the incident that causes stress, distress or trauma; it&#39;s the helplessness in the face of the incident.&quot; This can result in a variety of anxietylike symptoms such as distress, tenseness or loss of appetite. Some people become preoccupied with things that are not typically worrisome.</p><p>One of the most common coping mechanisms, says Williams, is anger. And that can feed into riots and vandalism.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s a totally normal response to ... persistent oppression and racism,&quot; she says. &quot;Other more adaptive coping methods would be things like peaceful protests, prayer, taking actions to bring the community together and improving awareness and understanding.&quot;</p><p>Currently, the American Psychiatric Association&#39;s manual of mental health disorders recognizes racism as trauma, but only in certain cases. But some researchers want to expand the definition of trauma that&#39;s fueled by the experience of racism.</p><p>&quot;If we&#39;re rolling our eyes at African-Americans, then we should be rolling our eyes at everyone else,&quot; says Nuru-Jeter. &quot;What about gender discrimination or discrimination by age? There are lots of forms of mistreatment or unfair treatment that people report experiencing, so there is no reason why racial discrimination should be singled out as one form of discrimination that we belittle.&quot;</p><p>Nuru-Jeter says the data are clear that experiencing racism can affect people&#39;s health. What&#39;s important now, she says, is trying to figure out ways to reduce discrimination so that it doesn&#39;t hurt African-Americans&#39; lives and mental well-being.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/07/02/419462959/coping-while-black-a-season-of-traumatic-news-takes-a-psychological-toll">NPR&#39;s CodeSwitch</a></em></p></p> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/coping-while-black-season-traumatic-news-takes-psychological-toll-112312 Emails show Emanuel, top officials aware of Clinton's private address http://www.wbez.org/news/emails-show-emanuel-top-officials-aware-clintons-private-address-112303 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmhillary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON (AP) &mdash; Senior Obama administration officials, including current Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her government correspondence, according to some 3,000 pages of correspondence released by the State Department late Tuesday night.</p><p>Emanuel requested Clinton&#39;s email address on Sept. 5, 2009, according to one email. His request came three months after top Obama strategist David Axelrod asked the same question of one of Clinton&#39;s top aides.</p><p>But it&#39;s unclear whether the officials realized Clinton, now the leading Democratic presidential candidate, was running her email from a server located in her home in Chappaqua, New York &mdash; a potential security risk and violation of administration policy.</p><p>The emails, covering March through December 2009, were posted online as part of a court mandate that the agency release batches of Clinton&#39;s private correspondence from her time as secretary of state every 30 days starting June 30.</p><p>Clinton&#39;s correspondence from her first year as the nation&#39;s top diplomat left little doubt that the Obama administration was aware that Clinton was using a personal address.</p><p>&quot;The Secretary and Rahm are speaking, and she just asked him to email her &mdash; can you send me her address please?&quot; Amanda Anderson, Emanuel&#39;s assistant, wrote.</p><p>Abedin passed along the request to Clinton. &quot;Rahm&#39;s assistant is asking for your email address. U want me to give him?&quot;</p><p>Less than a minute later, Clinton replied that Abedin should send along the address.</p><p>Emanuel said at a news conference Wednesday that he was honored to serve as Obama&#39;s chief of staff.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve also got to tell you, the farthest thing from my mind today, given all the challenges that we face as a city and all the opportunities we face, is what server Bill and Hillary Clinton had at their home,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>In June 2009, Axelrod requested Clinton&#39;s address, according to a message to Clinton from chief of staff Cheryl Mills.</p><p>&quot;Can you send to him or do you want me to? Does he know I can&#39;t look at it all day so he needs to contact me thru you or Huma or Lauren during work hours,&quot; Clinton replied, referencing some of her top aides.</p><p>Axelrod said Wednesday that while he knew Clinton had a private email address, &quot;I did not know that she used it exclusively or that she had her server in her home.&quot;</p><p>The White House counsel&#39;s office also was not aware at the time Clinton was secretary of state that she relied solely on personal email and only found out as part of the congressional investigation into the attacks, according to a person familiar with the matter.</p><p>The regular releases of Clinton&#39;s correspondence all but guarantee a slow drip of revelations from the emails throughout her primary campaign, complicating her efforts to put the issue to rest. The goal is for the department to publicly unveil 55,000 pages of her emails by Jan. 29, 2016 &mdash; just three days before Iowa caucus-goers will cast the first votes in the Democratic primary contest. Clinton has said she wants the emails released as soon as possible.</p><p>A Republican-led House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, also is examining emails of Clinton and other former department officials, raising the possibility of further revelations into 2016. The State Department provided more than 3,600 pages of documents to the committee on Tuesday, including emails.</p><p>Pushing back, the Clinton campaign released a video on Wednesday that argues that seven previous investigations have debunked the conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the panel&#39;s sole purpose is to rough up Clinton politically ahead of the presidential election.</p><p>&quot;How long will Republicans keep spending tax dollars on this political charade?&quot; the video asks.</p><p>The emails ranged from the mundane details of high-level public service &mdash; scheduling secure lines for calls, commenting on memos and dealing with travel logistics &mdash; to an email exchange with former President Jimmy Carter and a phone call with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Carter mildly chided Clinton about how to handle the release of two hostages held in North Korea, while Clinton recounted that Rice, her predecessor, &quot;called to tell me I was on strong ground&quot; regarding Israel.</p><p>One day in November 2009, aide Huma Abedin forwarded Clinton a list of 11, back-to-back calls she was scheduled to make to foreign ministers around the world.</p><p>&quot;Can&#39;t wait. You know how much I love making calls,&quot; Clinton responded.</p><p>In one email, Clinton tells Abedin, &quot;I heard on the radio that there is a Cabinet mtg this am. Can I go? If not, who are we sending?&quot; Clinton was later informed it wasn&#39;t a full Cabinet meeting.</p><p>The newly released emails show Clinton sent or received at least 12 messages in 2009 on her private email server that were later classified &quot;confidential&quot; by the U.S. government because officials said they contained activities relating to the intelligence community.</p><p>The emails also reflect the vast scope of Clinton&#39;s network, after several decades in Washington. She advises her future 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta to wear socks to bed, and passes on advice from former campaign strategist Mark Penn with the note &quot;overlook the source.&quot;</p><p>Clinton&#39;s emails have become an issue in her early 2016 campaign, as Republicans accuse her of using a private account rather than the standard government address to avoid public scrutiny of her correspondence. As the controversy has continued, Clinton has seen ratings of her character and trustworthiness drop in polling.</p><p>Clinton turned her emails over to the State Department last year, nearly two years after leaving the Obama administration. She said she got rid of about 30,000 emails she deemed exclusively personal.</p></p> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 08:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emails-show-emanuel-top-officials-aware-clintons-private-address-112303 CPS, Emanuel warn of deep cuts, layoffs to school district http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing &ldquo;a grand bargain&rdquo; to fix the financial woes of Chicago Public Schools.</p><p>The proposal cuts $200 million from schools, raises property taxes, asks teachers to pay more into their pensions, and pushes Springfield to increase overall school funding.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody would have to give up something, and nobody would have to give up everything,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s proposal came as state lawmakers were entertaining a bill from Illinois Senate President John Cullerton that would freeze property taxes and eliminate grants currently promised to CPS in exchange for picking up about $200 million of the cash-strapped school district&rsquo;s &ldquo;normal&rdquo; pension costs over the next two years.</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Union doesn&rsquo;t support Emanuel&rsquo;s plan and also scoffed at his longstanding push to consolidate the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund with the Teachers Retirement System, which includes all suburban and downstate teachers, and is equally underfunded. Currently, Chicago taxpayers pay into both CTPF and TRS, something Emanuel calls &ldquo;inequitable.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Cuts will hit classrooms, special education and start times</span></p><p>Emanuel and CPS officials said schools will start on time this fall, but not without deep cuts.&nbsp;</p><p>District officials are still in the process of developing the budget for next school year, but CPS Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/270216697/CPS-reducing-expenses-by-200-Million" target="_blank">outlined</a> the following cuts they&rsquo;ve already determined they&rsquo;ll make:</p><ul><li>Eliminate 5,300 coaching stipends for elementary school sports. ($3.2 million);</li><li>Change magnet school transportation by having students report to local attendance area school to be picked up. ($2.3 million);</li><li>Shift start times for some high schools back 45 minutes. ($9.2 million);</li><li>Eliminate 200 vacant special education positions. ($14 million);</li><li>Cut startup funding for charters and alternative schools. ($15.8 million);</li><li>Reduce professional development in turnaround schools run by AUSL ($11.6 million).</li></ul><p>&ldquo;In my view, they&rsquo;re intolerable, they&rsquo;re unacceptable and they&rsquo;re totally unconscionable,&rdquo; Emanuel said of the cuts. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re a result of a political system that sprung a leak and now it&rsquo;s a geyser.&rdquo;</p><p>The cuts do not solve the district&rsquo;s pension problems. Late Tuesday, just before the deadline, the school district paid its full pension payment, a hefty sum of $634 million, for 2015. But that payment was only to close out last year&rsquo;s budget. The Emanuel administration has already asked the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to push $500 million of the required 2016 payment to 2017.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Where will the revenue come from?</span></p><p>Chicago Public Schools officials and Emanuel find themselves in the middle of a delicate dance with Springfield: They take every opportunity to blame Springfield for the financial mess the district is in, but at the same time look for lawmakers to bail them out.</p><p>If Springfield doesn&rsquo;t go along with Emanuel&rsquo;s idea to merge all teacher pensions into a single fund, he wants them to contribute the &ldquo;normal&rdquo; pension cost, which amounts to about $200 million annually.</p><p>This portion of his plan coincides with a <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09900SB0316sam001&amp;GA=99&amp;SessionId=88&amp;DocTypeId=SB&amp;LegID=84277&amp;DocNum=0316&amp;GAID=13&amp;Session=" target="_blank">bill</a> that&rsquo;s currently floating around Springfield. Senate President John Cullerton sponsored an amendment that would kick in that annual &ldquo;normal cost,&rdquo; and also freezes property taxes for two years. Cullerton says it&rsquo;s his attempt to compromise with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who&rsquo;s advocated freezing property taxes. The bill would also require the state to create a task force to overhaul Illinois&rsquo; school funding formula.</p><p>Cullerton&rsquo;s bill made it through its first legislative hurdle with only Democratic support, but Cullerton said he&rsquo;d continue working with Republicans to get bipartisan support.</p><p>And then there&rsquo;s that thing Chicagoans have been waiting to hear details about: A property tax hike. Emanuel said without Springfield&rsquo;s help on teacher pension funding, he will restore the CPS pension levy to the pre-1995 tax rate of .26 percent. Emanuel estimates that would bring in around $175 million.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t easily go to taxpayers, but part of a solution is you&rsquo;re willing to give up things you don&rsquo;t support, in an effort to get other things you think are essential to a solution,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel said he will also ask teachers to contribute the full 9 percent to cover their own pension costs. He said he will also put the city&rsquo;s block grants on the table, in exchange for the state to increase education funding by up to 25 percent.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">How we got here</span></p><p>These pension problems stem from 15 years of neglect and mismanagement at CPS and the city.</p><p>From 1995 to 2004, CPS did not make a single payment to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, and instead used revenues to pay for operations. From 2011 to 2013, the school district got a &ldquo;pension holiday&rdquo; that temporarily shrunk payments, but didn&rsquo;t make a dent in the unfunded liabilities.</p><p>Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, said the district should be &ldquo;front and center taking blame&rdquo; for &ldquo;using the pension system very much like a credit card, running up debt and deferring payment of it until now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The City of Chicago has known that more money was going to have to go into the pension systems in 2015,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They had four and a half years to plan for it and they did nothing.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel disputes that he&rsquo;s been putting the pension problem off, telling reporters Wednesday that over the past few years, &ldquo;we negotiated with the laborers and municipal fund, we negotiated with police and fire and we negotiated with park district employees and reached pension agreements and passed a number of them...so I would slightly beg to differ the characterization that we were passive.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Martire didn&rsquo;t place all of the blame at the mayor&rsquo;s feet. He said state lawmakers are equally at fault for not contributing to Chicago teachers&rsquo; pensions, like they once promised and by generally underfunding public schools.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When you have such significant underfunding from the state, the mayoral administrations and the administrations of the CPS are going to look to beg, borrow and steal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And just simply write an IOU into the system saying, &lsquo;We&rsquo;ll pay you back someday at compounded interest.&rsquo; And someday has arrived.&rdquo;</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Tony Arnold contributed to this story from Springfield.</em></p><p><span style="font-size: 24px;">A timeline of CPS pension problems</span></p><p><strong>1981</strong> &ndash; Chicago Board of Education starts picking up 7 percent of the 9 percent employee pension contribution, in exchange for no salary raises.</p><p><strong>1995</strong> &ndash; Illinois General Assembly gives control of the city&rsquo;s public schools to Chicago&rsquo;s mayor and agrees to let CPS manage the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. The dedicated pension levy is eliminated and for 10 years, CPS doesn&rsquo;t pay anything into the Fund, instead using revenue that should have been earmarked for pensions on other things, like operations, new school expansion and staff raises.</p><p><strong>2005</strong> &ndash; Chicago Teachers Pension Fund &ldquo;funded ratio&rdquo; drops to 79 percent.</p><p><strong>2006</strong> &ndash; Board starts making payments into CTPF again.</p><p><strong>2008</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; Stock market crashes, dropping the Fund&rsquo;s &ldquo;funded ratio&rdquo; even further.</p><p><strong>2010</strong> &ndash; CPS CEO Ron Huberman gets a pension holiday from Springfield. From 2011-2013, CPS is only required to pay $200 million year &ndash; instead of $600 million &ndash; pushing ballooning payments to 2014.</p><p><strong>2012</strong> &ndash; The &ldquo;funded ratio&rdquo; drops to 53.9 percent.</p><p><strong>2014</strong> - $612.7 million payment</p><p><strong>2015</strong> - $634 million payment</p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_76159" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/270216697/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301 The legacy of Willie Dixon on his 100th birthday http://www.wbez.org/news/legacy-willie-dixon-his-100th-birthday-112292 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Blues1-Dixon.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This summer outdoor blues concerts are taking place on a site considered hallowed ground by blues fans.</p><p>Next to the legendary Chess Records building on South Michigan Ave. sits Willie Dixon&#39;s Blues Heaven Foundation. Dixon was a prolific songwriter and this is where his songs, like Little Red Rooster, Wang Dang Doodle and Hoochie Coochie Man were recorded by blues stars Howlin&rsquo; Wolf, Koko Taylor and Muddy Waters.</p><p>Dixon would have turned 100 this year, and to celebrate the foundation is making this <a href="http://wdbhf.org/the-week-of-willie">The Week of Willie</a>, with concerts around Chicago.</p><p>Fellow musicians and fans remember Dixon as a man who was generous with his time and talents.</p><p>&ldquo;He had a good reputation. People loved him,&rdquo; said his grandson Alex Dixon. &ldquo;The way he treated his musicians. He was happy the English guys were recording his music.&rdquo;</p><p>Dixon is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and this year was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He became one of the first blues artists to successfully sue to get music royalties owed to him. Early in their careers, he and other blues artists had agreements with record companies that paid them a fraction of what they were owed.​</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s got an ugly intersection with race that African American musicians often found themselves taken advantage of,&rdquo; said Peter DiCola, a professor specializing in copyright law at Northwestern University.</p><p>Chicago bluesman Billy Boy Arnold knows this story. He wrote the song &ldquo;I Wish You Would,&rdquo; later recorded by Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds.</p><p>&ldquo;The publishing company got 50 percent and we got 50 percent. But they didn&rsquo;t tell us the significance of the publishing. That&rsquo;s where the real money was,&rdquo; said Arnold. &ldquo; I never did get the money I was due.&rdquo;</p><p>Stories like Arnold&rsquo;s inspired Dixon to start the Blues Heaven Foundation. The nonprofit is dedicated to taking care of blues artists and their heirs &mdash; the goal is to make sure they&rsquo;re getting music royalties they&rsquo;re owed.</p><p>Alex Dixon says in many ways, his grandfather was a preservationist. A person who saw the future and worked tirelessly to protect the past of a musical genre.</p><p>&ldquo;He always knew that blues was going to be around,&rdquo; said Dixon. &ldquo;He knew we&rsquo;d have to work extra hard to keep it up.&rdquo;</p><p>And that may be the most important part of Dixon&rsquo;s legacy, helping keep the blues alive for future generations.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews"><em>@yolandanews</em></a></p></p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/legacy-willie-dixon-his-100th-birthday-112292 Preckwinkle may reevaluate sales tax plan if Springfield acts on pensions http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-may-reevaluate-sales-tax-plan-if-springfield-acts-pensions-112291 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/preckwinkle_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says she may reevaluate her plan to increase the county&rsquo;s sales tax if Springfield passes pension reform by the end of this summer.</p><p dir="ltr">Preckwinkle is pitching a 1 percentage point sales tax increase, a complete 180 from her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skkFEuCLUTo">campaign pledge in 2010</a> to roll back the so-called Stroger sales tax, named after her predecessor. That would mean a 10.25 percent sales tax in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I would argue there&rsquo;s no person in Cook County more hesitant to increase the sales tax than me. But here&rsquo;s the truth: I&rsquo;m here to do what&rsquo;s right for Cook County, what might be personally or politically awkward for me is irrelevant,&rdquo; Preckwinkle said in a speech Tuesday morning at the City Club.</p><p dir="ltr">Preckwinkle said state lawmakers put the county in a tough spot financially by not acting on her pension reform plan.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The reason we&rsquo;re raising the tax the entire 1 percent is so that we can meet our obligations and kinda catch up, given the fact that we&rsquo;ve waited a year for Springfield to act and it&rsquo;s cost us to be $360 million dollars further down&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">But Preckwinkle promised that if the state legislature passes her pension reform bill, the county would reevaluate the sales tax hike, so long as it all happens before the department of revenue&rsquo;s October 1st deadline.</p><p dir="ltr">County finance officials estimate the sales tax hike would raise around $308 million in 2016, which Preckwinkle said would be used mostly for pensions, with a little going to the county&rsquo;s legacy debt service and some road and bridge infrastructure projects.</p><p dir="ltr">The proposal needs the support of nine of the 17 commissioners in order to pass, and a few <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-defends-plan-boost-sales-tax-blames-pension-crisis-112236">members said they&rsquo;re still on the fence.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Commissioner Robert Steele said he was already meeting with businesses in his district to hear any concerns they might have about the increase.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We know this is gonna be a hard sell, it&rsquo;s not gonna be an easy sell for me to go out and say this is something we&rsquo;re gonna bring back to you after we just got rid of it a couple years ago,&rdquo; Steele said.</p><p dir="ltr">Preckwinkle said she would officially introduce the proposal at the full county board meeting Wednesday, with a hearing set for July 8. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s city politics reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/preckwinkle-may-reevaluate-sales-tax-plan-if-springfield-acts-pensions-112291 At eleventh hour, CPS makes huge pension payment http://www.wbez.org/news/eleventh-hour-cps-makes-huge-pension-payment-112290 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/madigan_1_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-8f7b37b5-46c0-8279-17ad-1b39333078ba"><em>UPDATED July 1, 7:53 a.m.&nbsp;</em></p><p dir="ltr">The head of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund says Chicago Public Schools deposited the full $634 million into the pension fund Tuesday evening.</p><p>&ldquo;The need for long-term solutions is not erased with this payment,&rdquo; CTPF&rsquo;s executive director Charles Burbridge said in a statement.</p><p dir="ltr">But with that payment, according to CPS officials, comes more borrowing and 1,400 layoffs of school district employees.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools would pay the hundreds of millions of dollars that it owes to teacher pensions by the end of the day.</p><p dir="ltr">The surprise announcement came after CPS had been asking state lawmakers for a short-term reprieve from the massive $634 million payment. Last week, the House of Representatives voted down the district&rsquo;s proposal, even though it had a minority Republican support. At the time, Madigan denied he singularly defeated the proposal, even though he wields influence over many lawmakers.</p><p>On Tuesday, he said that debate was moot, as he&rsquo;d been told by &ldquo;reliable sources&rdquo; that Chicago Public Schools would make the payment, in full.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been advised by reliable sources they have cash on hand and they&rsquo;ll be in a position to make a payment by the end of the business day today,&rdquo; Madigan told reporters.</p><p>As for how the district can make this payment to its pension system and still afford bills in the near-term, Madigan said he doesn&rsquo;t know how that math will work.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There are open questions going forward in terms of paying the bills at the Chicago Board of Education,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>In a statement, interim schools CEO Jesse Ruiz criticized Springfield for failing &ldquo;to address Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; financial crisis.&rdquo; Ruiz said CPS was able to make its 2015 pension payment by borrowing money, but they&rsquo;ll also have to make an additional $200 million in cuts. CPS officials said 1,400 jobs - not just teachers - would be impacted Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As we have said, CPS could not make the payment and keep cuts away from the classroom, so while school will start on time, our classrooms will be impacted,&rdquo; Ruiz said.</p><p>City Hall sources said late Tuesday night that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Ruiz would be presenting a &ldquo;comprehensive plan that includes long-term solutions to the district&rsquo;s pension and funding inequities&rdquo; on Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier in the day, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave no indications to reporters in Chicago that CPS was in fact planning to pay the bill in full by the end of the day. However, he did address the impact of the pension payment on the school system&rsquo;s budget.</p><p>&ldquo;School will start, but our ability to hold the impact of finances away from the classroom, that&rsquo;s gonna change,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Springfield lawmakers are set to hear Wednesday about a <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09900SB0316sam001&amp;GA=99&amp;SessionId=88&amp;DocTypeId=SB&amp;LegID=84277&amp;DocNum=316&amp;GAID=13&amp;Session=">new</a> proposal that could funnel hundreds of millions of state funds toward CPS pensions.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>. Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/eleventh-hour-cps-makes-huge-pension-payment-112290 As budget deadline approaches, Illinois faces a government shutdown http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-deadline-approaches-illinois-faces-government-shutdown-112281 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/springfield_0_2_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A budget standoff that could interrupt some state services beginning Wednesday is worth the pain if it yields fundamental business and political changes in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner says.</p><p>Turning the Democrats&#39; phrase of his reform proposals against them, the Republican governor said Tuesday the initiatives he continues to insist upon are &quot;extreme common sense.&quot;</p><p>The new governor made the rounds at state agencies Tuesday to speak to employees as he and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly girded for the new fiscal year amid continuing disagreement on how to fund state operations.</p><p>Lawmakers were in session Tuesday. The House planned to take testimony from 15 key state agencies on how they plan to weather a &quot;shutdown&quot; with no budget deal, but had retired to private party caucus meetings early in the afternoon.</p><p>Democrats want to find the revenue necessary to cover what they say are vital operations, while Rauner first demands rule-changes in liability lawsuits and worker-injury compensation, along with term limits for politicians and an impartial method for drawing political district lines.</p><p>The Legislature sent him a $36 billion spending plan that Democrats acknowledged was up to $4 billion out of balance, but argued Rauner could reduce spending in areas he saw fit to keep government moving ahead while talks continue. The governor vetoed the bulk of that plan last week.</p><p>To Rauner, who&#39;s in the midst of his first state budget battle, the changes are essential to producing more tax revenue and keeping spending in check. To Democrats, they&#39;re &quot;extreme.&quot;</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re extreme common sense,&quot; Rauner told reporters after talking to Illinois Emergency Management Agency employees. He repeated his Monday promise to see that workers get paid even without agreement on a spending plan, a scenario the Democratic attorney general later said lacked legal precedent.</p><p>&quot;What is extreme in Illinois is our property tax burden, what is extreme is our deficit and our debt, what is extreme is our low economic growth, our low rate of job creation and our high rate of conflicts of interest inside government,&quot; he said.</p><p>If Wednesday comes without a budget, there is money enough to pay 65,000 state employees through mid-July. But it&#39;s likely some services provided by government contractors will begin shutting down or stop because payments will cease.</p><p>Rauner dismissed the idea that the anticipated confusion and commotion surrounding a shutdown could cause more harm.</p><p>&quot;We need structural reform and see, change is hard,&quot; Rauner said. &quot;But we need to have change. If all we&#39;re going to do is keep the status quo, and if all we do is raise taxes to cover up the status quo, we&#39;ll continue in our long-term slow decline and the people of Illinois deserve better than that.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-deadline-approaches-illinois-faces-government-shutdown-112281 Closing time for Chicago's trading pits http://www.wbez.org/news/closing-time-chicagos-trading-pits-112280 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jodymichael.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/closing-time-chicagos-trading-pits-112280 Southwest Side residents work toward racial healing http://www.wbez.org/news/southwest-side-residents-work-toward-racial-healing-112273 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bridgeport roundtable june 30 nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-92bbb99a-44ef-60db-5c70-18726bf4d2e0">Last month two black people were brutally stabbed in a Canaryville park in what they say was a racially motivated attack by a group of whites.</p><p dir="ltr">Four people &mdash;Kevin Hoynes, David Rice,&nbsp;<strong>Joya Urbikas</strong>&nbsp;and Courtney Vega&mdash;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-4-charged-in-stabbing-attack-of-brother-sister-20150606-story.html" target="_blank">have been charged</a> with attempted murder and will be arraigned June 30.</p><p dir="ltr">In the nearby Bridgeport neighborhood, residents say this incident has them thinking more about racial dynamics on the city&rsquo;s Southwest Side. This swath of the city has long been known for white racial intolerance.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ South Side Bureau reporter Natalie Moore gathered a group of neighbors who want to work toward racial healing.</p><ul dir="ltr"><li>Tom Gaulke, pastor at <a href="http://firsttrinitychicago.blogspot.com/">First Trinity Lutheran Church in Bridgeport</a></li><li>Theresa Mah, community activist, McKinley Park resident</li><li>Ruby Pinto, chair of <a href="http://bridgeportalliance.blogspot.com/">Bridgeport Alliance</a></li><li>Suzanne Goebel, Bridgeport resident and advocacy coordinator for <a href="http://darstcenter.org/">Darst Center</a></li><li>Jotti Aulakh, Bridgeport resident and community engagement coordinator for <a href="http://darstcenter.org/">Darst Center</a></li></ul><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a> Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/southwest-side-residents-work-toward-racial-healing-112273 Local brewery turns off the tap for Trump http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/local-brewery-turns-tap-trump-112272 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/13399992435_df2dc078d0_k.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Local microbrewery <a href="http://www.5rabbitbrewery.com/">5 Rabbit Cerveceria</a> is cutting ties with Chicago&#39;s Trump Tower lounge in ongoing fallout over Donald Trump&#39;s recent <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/24/politics/donald-trump-ivanka-trump-mexicans-immigrants/">comments about Mexican immigrants.</a></p><p dir="ltr">The Latin American-born owners of the Bedford Park brewery had been making a house beer for Trump Tower&acute;s Rebar for the past few months. It was a joint effort with the restaurant&rsquo;s bar manager, and the relationship had been going well according to 5 Rabbit founder and co-owner Andres Araya.</p><p dir="ltr">But after the presidential hopeful characterized Mexican immigrants largely as criminals and &ldquo;rapists&rdquo; in a speech earlier this month, Araya and his partners decided to end the relationship.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We would be doing an injustice to the community we serve (and live in) by engaging in business with someone who does not accept our role in society and expresses a rhetoric of hate and ignorance towards us,&rdquo; Araya wrote in a statement to WBEZ Monday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;On a personal level, if I did, one of the things that scares me the most is sending the wrong message to my daughters. We are active members of this immigrant community and we need to stand up for ourselves, and more importantly, for those who do not have the voice or means to do so. The very foundation of the United States of America was built on acceptance and inclusion. &nbsp;That is what drew us here, and that&acute;s what why we feel so strongly about this.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As a company, an integral part of our vision reads that we are &lsquo;not only based in, but also look to promote a strong and positive image of Latin America, its heritage and people.&rsquo;</p><p dir="ltr">It would be hypocritical of us to sustain the relationship.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Araya says that the 50 remaining kegs of the summer golden ale will be sold to bars around town under the name &ldquo;(Expletive) Tu Pelo.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Trump, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination, was in town on Monday to give a speech to the City Club of Chicago. Asked if he had any regrets over the comments on Mexico, Trump stood firm. He said that every time he talks about Mexico he&rsquo;s &ldquo;accused of being a racist.&rdquo; Then he cited a figure from the <em>Huffington Post </em>saying that 80 percent of girls smuggled from Central America are raped.</p><p dir="ltr">Across the street from the City Club speech, Mexican Americans staged an anti-Trump protest calling him a racist and urging NBC to cut ties with the reality TV star.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about immigrants during the announcement of his campaign.</p><p>NBC said it would no longer air the annual &quot;Miss USA&quot; and &quot;Miss Universe&quot; pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Trump has said he is no longer appearing in the television show &quot;The Apprentice.&quot; NBC said &quot;Celebrity Apprentice&quot; will continue to go on without him.</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,&quot; NBC said in the statement.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week Spanish language network Univision called Trump&rsquo;s comments &ldquo;insulting&rdquo; and announced it will not air the Miss USA pageant next month. Trump is part owner of the pageant and said Monday he still doesn&rsquo;t know what will happen with that deal.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org. </em></p><p><em>Yolanda Perdomo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>UPDATE On Tuesday Five Rabbit sent over a list of the restaurants and bars that will serve the beer:</em></p><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="257"><colgroup><col /><col /></colgroup><tbody><tr height="21"><td height="21" style="height:21px;width:88px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width:169px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">1.</td><td>A Toda Madre&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">2.</td><td>Bad Apple&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">3.</td><td>Bar On Buena</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">4.</td><td>Beer House&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">5.</td><td>Beer Market&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">6.</td><td>Blarney Stone&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">7.</td><td>Burger Antics&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">8.</td><td>Café Salsa&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">9.</td><td>Cellar Door&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">10.</td><td>Dusek&#39;s</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">11.</td><td>Farmhouse Evanston&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">12.</td><td>Fat Cat</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">13.</td><td>Fishman&#39;s&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">14.</td><td>Gino&#39;s East&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">15.</td><td>Green Lady&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">16.</td><td>Jerry&rsquo;s Andersonville&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">17.</td><td>Kuma&#39;s Corner&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">18.</td><td>Kuma&#39;s Too</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">19.</td><td>Lake Street Kitchen&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">20.</td><td>Links</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">21.</td><td>Longman &amp; Eagle&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">22.</td><td>Mama Maria&#39;s&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">23.</td><td>Maria&#39;s Packaged Goods</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">24.</td><td>Monks Pub&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">25.</td><td>Moreno&#39;s Liquors</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">26.</td><td>Pints&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">27.</td><td>Porkchop</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">28.</td><td>Randolph&#39;s Tavern&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">29.</td><td>Riverview Tavern&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">30.</td><td>Roots Handmade Pizza&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">31.</td><td>Sovereign&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">32.</td><td>Standard Market&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">33.</td><td>Stoney Point&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">34.</td><td>Tango Naperville&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">35.</td><td>Tapworks Tavern&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">36.</td><td>The Barrel&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">37.</td><td>The Kinderhook Tap&nbsp;</td></tr><tr height="21"><td align="right" height="21" style="height:21px;">38.</td><td>Village Tap&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/local-brewery-turns-tap-trump-112272