WBEZ | Joe Moore http://www.wbez.org/tags/joe-moore Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Former aide to Ald. Joe Moore details ethics violations http://www.wbez.org/news/former-aide-ald-joe-moore-details-ethics-violations-108160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Joe Moore.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A former aide to Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th) is speaking out about ethical violations that she claims she witnessed when she worked in the alderman&rsquo;s office between 2006 and 2009. The claims, first detailed in a <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/olig/Documents/LIGrpt-Jul2013.pdf">report</a> released Monday by the city&rsquo;s legislative inspector general, have put the reform-minded alderman on the defensive.</p><p dir="ltr">Anne Sullivan joined Moore&rsquo;s re-election campaign shortly after she was let go as campaign manager for his rival, Don Gordon, in a runoff election. She later became a legislative aide in Moore&rsquo;s ward office, eventually specializing in housing matters.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan was terminated in November of 2009, and alleges the reason was that she sounded alarms over potentially illegal ethics violations in Moore&rsquo;s ward office. &ldquo;There was a paid city intern, a student intern, that was working at the front desk, like at the front door of the office,&rdquo; Sullivan told WBEZ, &ldquo;and they had him putting mailing labels on an invitation for a fundraiser for Toni Preckwinkle that Joe Moore was hosting at his home.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">City and state laws prohibit public servants from engaging in political activities that use government resources and property, and that are done on city time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I told the kid he shouldn&rsquo;t be doing that, and I emailed Joe Moore and told him about it,&rdquo; Sullivan continued. She claimed that Moore was away from the office that week, but that his Chief of Staff, Betsy Vandercook, initially disputed the veracity of Sullivan&rsquo;s claim. Vandercook did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said Moore told her that when he returned to his office, the staff would have a meeting to discuss the matter. &ldquo;But then we never had a staff meeting,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, according to Sullivan, when Moore returned to his office he took her to a restaurant in Rogers Park and told her that she was terminated. He also offered Sullivan three-and-a-half months of pay, roughly $8,700. &ldquo;But for that I had to agree to walk away from the ward office, and not talk to anybody about anything that occurred in the ward office, or about anybody in the ward office, or badmouthing anybody,&rdquo; she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said she had not accrued enough unused vacation time or overtime to justify the payment, but she claims she accepted it because she thought city employees were entitled to severance pay. Sullivan said she later called the city&rsquo;s human resources office and was told that the city of Chicago does not give severance pay to public employees.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I hung up the phone and had a panic attack,&rdquo; Sullivan said. &ldquo;Because I felt like I had been set up, like I was now embroiled in something illegal, and I felt like Joe (Moore) knew that, and he had me.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Sullivan said she called the City Inspector General&rsquo;s office to inquire if the payment was illegal, but dropped it because she didn&rsquo;t want to sign a formal complaint. But a year later, Sullivan said she spoke with the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on the advice of a friend. She claimed that office helped arrange for two FBI agents to interview her.</p><p dir="ltr">The FBI declined to comment on whether it is investigating the alleged violations. Moore did acknowledge in an interview with WBEZ that he was interviewed by FBI agents about the matter.</p><p dir="ltr">But the alderman disputed much of Sullivan&rsquo;s account on Tuesday, starting with the allegation that an intern labeled political flyers in his ward office. &ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t there and this is not something that I&rsquo;m familiar with,&rdquo; he said. Moore also said did not recall receiving any e-mail from Sullivan about the matter. Moore added that Sullivan often made allegations about staff members in his office, &ldquo;and almost all of them were unfounded,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She was a very disruptive influence in the office,&rdquo; said Moore. Others who worked with Sullivan on Moore&rsquo;s re-election campaign and in the ward office told WBEZ that she had a tendency to &ldquo;burn bridges&rdquo; with those around her, and that her working relationship with Moore was often tense.</p><p dir="ltr">Moore denied that he terminated Sullivan because of any allegations of illegal activity, but rather claimed it was for insubordination. &rdquo;I told her that things just weren&rsquo;t going well in the office with her, that I was going to have to let her go.&rdquo; He claimed the severance pay was for overtime hours.</p><p dir="ltr">According to the report that first revealed the alleged violations, Moore also paid taxpayer-funded severance in excess of unused vacation days to a former chief of staff, Kevin Cosgrove, amounting to $13,497. Cosgrove did not respond to WBEZ&rsquo;s request for comment.</p><p dir="ltr">The accusations against Moore were publicly aired on the same day the White House announced he was to be honored as &quot;a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance.&quot; The progressive alderman, in office since 1991, was the first in the city to implement a constituent-driven budgeting process in his ward. According to <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Alderman-Accused-of-Ethics-Violation-Honored-at-White-House-216592541.html">news</a> <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=9182730">reports</a> late Tuesday, the White House was withholding the honor in light of the pending investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">On Monday, Moore emailed <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/737899-statement-of-ald-joe-moore-1-7-22-13.html">a written statement</a> to the media, denying any misconduct, and calling the office of Faisal Khan, the Legislative Inspector General &ldquo;run amok with a lack of professionalism...&rdquo; Moore also claimed Khan never interviewed him about the allegations, which Khan disputes.</p><p dir="ltr">The complaint against Moore was among 132 filed with Khan&rsquo;s office between July 2012 and July 2013, of which 25 were investigated. Khan said that&rsquo;s far more than were filed in the previous year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s more public awareness as to the existence of this office,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now since we&rsquo;ve been out trying to raise awareness of this office, allowing the taxpayers and the citizens of Chicago to come forward and speak to us, I think that&rsquo;s a reasonable explanation as to why these numbers have increased.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The investigations now go to the city&rsquo;s Board of Ethics.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 07:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-aide-ald-joe-moore-details-ethics-violations-108160 Report on alleged misconduct rankles aldermen http://www.wbez.org/news/report-alleged-misconduct-rankles-aldermen-108148 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IG.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The office that investigates claims of misconduct by Chicago aldermen has released a new report, prompting a round of criticism from some members of City Council. The <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/olig/Documents/LIGrpt-Jul2013.pdf">18-page report</a> is the second released by Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan since the city council established that office by ordinance in 2010.</p><p>The report looks at 132 complaints filed between July 2012 and July 2013, of which 25 were investigated. The report elaborates on a handful of complaints in more detail, though no aldermen are named.</p><p>In one case, an alderman allegedly took more campaign donations from a contributor than permitted. Another investigation claims an alderman instructed a police officer to write two traffic summonses to a person who had gotten into a parking dispute with the alderman&rsquo;s sister-in-law.</p><p>Members of the City Council&rsquo;s Progressive Caucus demurred from commenting on specific examples cited in the study, saying they hadn&rsquo;t yet seen the report. Still, several accused Khan of releasing the study to the media before it was available to the public &ndash; a claim that Khan denies.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s got to be coming out of his office,&rdquo; said Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), &ldquo;he needs to be more tight-lipped on the approach that he&rsquo;s taking.&rdquo; Several aldermen said they believe Khan&rsquo;s office should be dissolved, and that aldermanic oversight could be given to City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, who already has jurisdiction over city employees.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s interesting that they&rsquo;re focused more on the confidentiality and the city inspector general office rather than the substantive facts of these reports,&rdquo; Khan told WBEZ Monday.</p><p>Council members specifically declined to comment on one <a href="http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/22901456/ald-joe-moore-accused-of-ethics-violations-by-ig-inspector-general#ixzz2ZoIAqPln">alleged abuse of power</a> that <a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/07/21/reform-ald-joe-moore-caught-ethics-probes">WTTW&rsquo;s &ldquo;Chicago Tonight&quot;</a> first reported on Sunday. In the story &lsquo;multiple sources&rsquo; named Joe Moore (49th) as the alderman who allegedly allowed campaign work to be done from his ward office, then paid off a former aide to stay silent about it.</p><p>First elected to the City Council in 1991, the reform-minded North Side alderman fired off a written statement on Monday denying any such misconduct. It said &ldquo;the issues involved were personnel matters--not political ones&rdquo; and came from a &ldquo;disgruntled former employee.&rdquo; Khan&rsquo;s office was &ldquo;run amok with a lack of professionalism...&rdquo; the statement continued, and according to Moore never interviewed him about the allegations.</p><p>Khan declined to confirm or deny the identity of any of the aldermen in the report.</p><p>The Office of the Legislative Inspector General has been criticized in the media for its expenditures, but in the newly-released report, Khan says his office has hired five part-time employees to help carry the workload. Their investigations now go to the city&rsquo;s Board of Ethics.</p><div><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></div></p> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 17:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-alleged-misconduct-rankles-aldermen-108148 Dorothy Brown tries to fend off Rick Munoz in bitter Cook County Circuit Court Clerk race http://www.wbez.org/story/dorothy-brown-tries-fend-rick-munoz-bitter-cook-county-circuit-court-clerk-race-96891 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-01/web.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It's been a difficult few years for Dorothy Brown, the elected clerk of Cook County's circuit court. She's lost two bids for higher office, for mayor in 2007 and county board president in 2010.</p><p>Brown also faced a lot of criticism for poor bookkeeping of an employee "Jeans Day" program, for taking campaign money from her staff and office vendors and for accepting cash gifts from employees.</p><p>Now seeking a fourth term, Brown touts her record as an experienced administrator. First, she'll have to get past a feisty opponent, 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Munoz, in the March 20th Democratic primary.</p><p>Back in 2000, Brown won the court clerk's office by plowing through a Democratic field that included two Chicago aldermen. The machine-endorsed candidate was the 45th Ward's Pat Levar and the other was Joe Moore of the 49th Ward.</p><p>"I had previously announced my candidacy for that office and was getting a lot of support," Moore remembered. "But when she entered the race, it kind of sucked all the oxygen out my campaign."</p><p>Moore had television commercials, but Brown had an energized, independent organization of volunteers, and another advantage.</p><p>"What I failed to take into account is the large amount of favorable publicity that Ms. Brown received from news media. That free press was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Moore, who is backing Munoz in this year's election.</p><p>That "favorable publicity" might be surprising now, after several years of ethics questions, but back in 2000 Brown won endorsements from the <em>Tribune</em>, <em>Sun-Times</em> and <em>Daily Herald</em>. They were impressed by her multiple professional degrees and her political independence.</p><p>Brown is now the Cook County Democratic Party's endorsed candidate and has had little trouble keeping the clerk's office. Four years ago she didn't even have a primary opponent. This year, though, she's up against Munoz, a 19-year veteran of the Chicago City Council. The two met for a debate last week in a Lincoln Park church. The setting didn't temper the mudslinging.</p><p>"You know what after 18 years [Munoz] doesn't even have a [ward] website for his constituents," Brown said.</p><p>"We can clean up the last corner of corruption in Cook County," Munoz told the crowd, referring to Brown's office.</p><p>"And then he just went on the floor and just voted for it blindly," Brown said, referring to Munoz's vote for the unpopular parking meter lease.</p><p>"The most eye-popping example is her failure to adopt an electronic document filing system that could save the taxpayers millions," Munoz said.</p><p>Munoz has tried to put electronic filing at the center of this election. He said it's long past time Cook County had a system for lawyers to file all legal briefs online. Some are filed electronically in a test program approved by the Illinois Supreme Court. But the court is not yet letting the county expand that program, and is not saying much publicly about why not.</p><p>Still, Brown defends how far the clerk's office has come since she took over.</p><p>"I had to actually move [the office] from the 19th Century...with handwriting, we didn't quite have quill pens, but we were close to that," Brown said at the debate.</p><p>Cook County, Brown continued, has one of the largest court systems in the country. Her office is responsible for handling the millions of documents that move in and out of hundreds of courtrooms.</p><p>How efficiently the office does that most certainly affects attorneys, who - at the Daley Center the other day - tended to give Brown a mixed grade.</p><p>"Great Job. There's a billion cases filed in this thing, and for the most part, things are where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be," Mark Mayer said. 'I don't know if she's wasting money or doing good with money...But as far as what I need to do...as far as my business, she does a great job."</p><p>"I notice sometimes that documents are mis-filed, which is only human considering the massive number of documents that they have," Ken Peters said.</p><p>The clerk's operation, of course, also impacts non-lawyers: people dealing with traffic tickets, divorces, criminal charges and foreclosures. And with about 2,000 employees and a $100 million budget, it affects anyone who pays taxes in the county.</p><p>Rick Munoz wants to take over the responsibility of the office after almost two decades on the City Council, where he was known as a rare voice of opposition to former Mayor Richard Daley. But Dorothy Brown disputes Munoz's reformer credentials, noting that he took money from developers in his Southwest Side ward and his vote on the parking meter lease. (Munoz has since sought to repeal the lease.)</p><p>Brown also questioned whether an alderman with only a handful of employees has enough management experience.</p><p>"You can throw out all kinds of accusations, but can you run an office of this magnitude? That's what's going to be important here," Brown said at the debate.</p><p>Munoz scoffed at that, citing the recent example of his key supporter, the county board president and former alderman Toni Preckwinkle. He's been dropping Preckwinkle's name all over the place, and also her photo - on campaign fliers Munoz passed out this week at the Loyola University 'L' stop.</p><p>"[I'm] just visiting all the way around - New Trier, Palatine, Wheeling, Hegewisch - just all over the county," Munoz said.</p><p>Has he found any commuters who cared about the circuit court clerk's office?</p><p>"Once they learn about the office, once they hear that I'm running against Dorothy Brown, the lady with the blue jeans scandal - they say, 'Oh, good. I'll support you," he said.</p><p>Munoz took a brief moment to find a response when he was asked if that's how he wants to win the race, by emphasizing Brown's negatives rather than his own positives.</p><p>"You know, I'm running to reform this office. Her negatives are just what they are," Munoz said.</p><p>In the city's Bronzeville neighborhood, Brown's campaign said it has well over a hundred volunteers. The campaign is running a seven-day-a-week phone bank, evidence that the clerk's political organization has some of the same heft it did twelve years ago.</p><p>And in an election in which most Chicago Democrats have, really, no big-name contested primaries to draw them to the polls, every little push may count.</p></p> Fri, 02 Mar 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dorothy-brown-tries-fend-rick-munoz-bitter-cook-county-circuit-court-clerk-race-96891 Majority of aldermen call for budget changes http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/CPL books.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A majority of Chicago's aldermen are calling for changes to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2012 city budget. They say his proposed budget cuts would hurt public safety and quality of life.</p><p>Twenty-eight of the city's 50 aldermen signed the letter to Mayor Emanuel.&nbsp; They say his plan to cut library hours would cause too many layoffs and negatively effect patrons who rely on the library.</p><p>"We're hearing it loud and clear, all across the city, from the West Side to the East Side to the North Side to the South Side," said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd). "Everybody's complaining about the cuts."</p><p>Fioretti said cutting library hours, as mayor Emanuel has proposed, would hurt kids and people who use the internet to search for jobs.</p><p>In addition to the library cuts, the 28 aldermen voiced other concerns.</p><p>The current budget proposal also consolidates 12 mental health clinics into six, and privatizes some health services. Aldermen say public clinics are vital for Chicago's neediest and must be protected.</p><p>Other concerns include the $10 million cut from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. That would eliminate fire and police dispatcher positions - and, aldermen say, endanger public safety.</p><p>The bloc says they also "have reservations" about the proposed near doubling of the fee for city stickers on SUVs. But aldermen recognize that the 2012 budget won't avoid cuts entirely, said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).</p><p>"'Cause somethin' have [sic] to give. And we're rational enough to understand that. But we just wanna see if we can balance the burden out a little bit more," Burnett said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel said he remains open to changing his proposed budget, as long as alderment identify other cuts or revenue sources to offset the ones they don't like.</p><p>"I hear them. It doesn't mean I agree. But it doesn't mean I disagree," Emanuel said. "And as I always said, not all signatures on a letter are created equal."</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 11:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 How long will Emanuel's City Council honeymoon last? http://www.wbez.org/story/how-long-will-emanuels-city-council-honeymoon-last-86538 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-16/Chicago City Hall_Flickr_Mason.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Monday, Rahm Emanuel - Chicago's next mayor - will be sworn-in.&nbsp;So will the 50 members of the city council. It's the official first date in a relationship that's bound to be tested, especially as the city deals with major budget problems.</p><p>Retiring Mayor Richard Daley hated when reporters referred to the city council as a "rubber stamp" for his proposals.</p><p>"None of them are a rubber stamp, regardless of what you say," Daley said at a news conference earlier this month. "I worked each and every one of [the aldermen] continually, whether they agreed or disagreed with me on many, many issues."</p><p>The "rubber stamp" label is also dismissed by aldermen - even some of Daley's most frequent critics.&nbsp;Sure, they knock him as autocratic and, at times, undemocratic.&nbsp;But they point out the administration did a lot of work behind the scenes to find compromises.</p><p>Alderman Leslie Hairston of the 5th Ward thinks the media missed this part of the story.</p><p>"Unfortunately, all we see is the day at the council after all the work has been done and there's no acknowledgement to the other work that has been going on before we get to the council floor," Hairston said.</p><p>Still, Hairston said Daley came up short on some issues important to her, such as economic development in her South Side ward. And she says she likes some things she's hearing from Emanuel.</p><p>In fact, the mayor-elect is coming off a transition that's been nearly free of aldermanic criticism.</p><p>He waded into some city council runoffs, spending close to $300,000. Seven of the 10 candidates he endorsed won. Emanuel denied he was just trying to buy a friendly council.</p><p>"We don't want a rubber stamp city council, and we don't want council war," Emanuel said in March, shortly after his campaign announced he was forming a political action committee. "I want a council that will part of the reform agenda, and be a partner in that effort."</p><p>So, a middle ground between a go along get-along city council like what's existed under Daley, and a council at war with itself, like what happened during the first term of Mayor Harold Washington. But where is that middle ground? Some disagreement, just not angry disagreement?</p><p>If you hear Ald. Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward explain it, it sounds a touch Kumbaya-ish.</p><p>"Working together doesn't mean that you're against each other," Fioretti said. "It's how we all lock arms with all of our citizens to move the city forward."</p><p>That all sounds great. But is it actually going to happen?</p><p>"I think it will," he said. "I think we're going to see differences disappear, because I think every one of the 50 aldermen that're coming in and the new mayor realize what a financial problem that we have."</p><p>But don't expect aldermen to instantly lock arms with the new mayor, and agree on cuts to erase a $587 million budget deficit.</p><p>Jason Ervin was appointed in January to represent Chicago's 28th Ward on the far West Side, an area of the city he says has been short-changed in the past.</p><p>"I understand you've got to balance the budget, but because so much has gone on and has not happened in the ward that balancing the budget on the backs of the residents of the 28th Ward is not a good thing," Ervin said.</p><p>Ervin said he relayed that message directly to the mayor-elect. And how did Emanuel respond?</p><p>"Well, I won't way it was overly negative or positive," Ervin recalled. "You know, I understand his position, and I want him to understand mine."</p><p>The first responsibility of the new council will be to pick its leaders.&nbsp;Technically, Emanuel has no say in this, but he says he came up with a plan after talking with every alderman.&nbsp;It would shrink the number of council committees.</p><p>Alderman Ed Burke of the 14th Ward, who supported an opponent of Emanuel's in the mayoral campaign, keeps his committee but would lose some power, while an Emanuel ally, 40th Ward Ald. Patrick O'Connor, gains influence.</p><p>Emanuel's plan also includes a bone for a longtime foe of Mayor Daley's.&nbsp;Alderman Joe Moore, 49th Ward, would chair the Human Relations Committee. Moore never got a committee chairmanship while Daley was in charge, despite serving in the council for 20 years.</p><p>"The only committees I chaired were ad-hoc committees that I named myself chairman of," Moore said with a laugh. "But, no. This is the first time I've been a chairman in a city council committee."</p><p>Moore sounds excited - giddy, even - about post-Daley politics at City Hall. He said he has chatted with Emanuel four or five times since the election, and said he feels like he's being listened to.</p><p>"I think we're dealing with a new paradigm here," Moore said. "The old divisions between...independent aldermen...and machine aldermen...I don't think those divisions really have as much meaning now that we're facing these very difficult issues that don't fall neatly along ideological lines."</p><p>This does not mean there won't still be disagreements in the council, still be divisions. Moore just said he thinks the alliances will shift, depending on the issue.</p></p> Mon, 16 May 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/how-long-will-emanuels-city-council-honeymoon-last-86538 Power-plant emissions bill dead, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/hardhats.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A proposal for Chicago to regulate exhaust from coal-fired power plants may be dying. But the bill’s sponsor, Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward, says it will come back to life soon.</p><p>Moore’s legislation is stuck in a joint City Council committee chaired by Alds. Virginia Rugai, 19th, and James Balcer, 11th — close allies of Mayor Richard M. Daley, who opposes the bill. But Moore says he will introduce a similar version after Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel takes office next month and a new City Council convenes.</p><p>The proposal targets fine particulate matter, known as soot, that many health experts blame for respiratory diseases. It would also impose one of the nation’s first limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.</p><p>California-based Edison International, which owns coal-fired generators in two mostly Latino neighborhoods of Chicago, dispatched a top Latino executive to a Chicago City Council hearing Thursday. Pedro Pizarro, president of a company arm called Edison Mission Group, warned that the regulations would force the plants offline.</p><p>“If we take on, unilaterally, costs that our competitors don’t, we can’t compete,” Pizarro told WBEZ after the hearing. “We don’t protect the jobs for employees. We don’t end up serving our customers.”</p><p>The company’s Fisk and Crawford plants, which stand in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, together employ about 185 workers. The company sells the electricity in the wholesale market.</p><p>Moore accused Pizarro of crying wolf. “Business and industry always claim we’re going to drive them out of business,” the alderman said. “And you know what? If you push them hard enough, they’ll do what they need to do. We have a cleaner environment and a stronger economy as a result.”</p><p>Spectators packed the council chambers for the hearing. Edison’s local unit, Midwest Generation, bused in about 300 employees. Many wore hard hats and blue work shirts. Outside the hearing, they chanted, “Save our jobs!”</p><p>A similar number of environmentalists and neighborhood activists attended to urge the bill’s passage. They tried to hijack the workers’ chant, changing it to, “Save our lives!”</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522 Fate of Chicago coal plants could hang on election http://www.wbez.org/story/air-quality/fate-chicago-coal-plants-could-hang-election <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Fisk Smokestack.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>New leadership in Chicago&rsquo;s City Hall could reopen some old fights, including a long-standing battle over two power plants: Crawford and Fisk. In spite of lawsuits, regulations and politicking, the coal-fired plants still churn out electricity, and pollution.</p><p>Now a local ordinance to force them to clean up or shut down is getting a fresh look from officials and candidates. They&rsquo;re holding an unofficial hearing in the City Council chambers today. But just what would happen if they succeed remains a big question mark.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s Gabriel Spitzer spoke with host Melba Lara to explain why the outlook for coal in Chicago may be about to change. &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 14 Feb 2011 17:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/air-quality/fate-chicago-coal-plants-could-hang-election CTA considers closing stops on north lines http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-transit-authority/cta-considers-closing-stops-north-lines <p><div>The Chicago Transit Authority is considering <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/rpmproject/RPM_-_web_ScopingBook_redpurple_FTA.pdf">several options</a> for how to modernize its century-old Red and Purple Lines on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side and in Evanston, and this week officials revealed that some of those options would involve closing stations. In their stead, new entrances would be added to nearby stations.&nbsp;&ldquo;You would still have a station that would serve that area,&rdquo; said CTA spokesman Sheila Gregory. &ldquo;It would just be sort of reconfigured for modern times.&rdquo; Gregory said having fewer stations could reduce travel times.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The CTA is unveiling the six options and receiving feedback from residents at <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/rpmproject/">community meetings</a> this week.&nbsp;The proposals range from leaving the system as-is, to performing simple station repairs, to even taking portions of the elevated line below ground as a subway.&nbsp;Three options include closure of the Jarvis, Thorndale, and Lawrence stations on the Red Line; and the South Boulevard and Foster stations on the Purple Line.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Joe Moore of Chicago's 49th Ward said he was blindsided by the fact that the CTA is even entertaining closing the Jarvis station.&nbsp;His ward office is located at that stop, as are stores and restaurants that have reinvigorated the area in recent years.&nbsp;&ldquo;If that El station closed, it could very well signal the demise of the Jarvis Square business district,&rdquo; said Moore.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>CTA officials said they'll consider community input gathered at meetings this week. A final decision could be a long way off, however. Gregory pointed out that the system still has no funding for the modernization project, which would cost roughly $4 billion. She said the CTA is laying the groundwork with planning now so it will be poised to apply for federal funding as it becomes available.&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-transit-authority/cta-considers-closing-stops-north-lines Mayor Daley's final budget passes http://www.wbez.org/story/bob-fioretti/mayor-daleys-final-budget-passes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/daley web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council Wednesday signed off on Mayor Richard Daley's final city budget. The plan does not raise property taxes, but it does empty some of the city's reserves.</p><p>Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward was one of just seven aldermen to vote against Mayor Daley's spending plan. He criticized its reliance on money from the billion dollar parking meter lease fund.<br /><br />&quot;Only 6.6 percent will remain, and there still are 73 years left on the lease,&quot;&nbsp;Fioretti said.<br /> <br /> &quot;Again this year, we came up with a few more rabbits to pull out of a hat,&quot; said 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore.</p><p>Moore and a handful of other aldermen voted &quot;no&quot; on parts of the mayor's budget, but then &quot;yes&quot; on other parts. That led to a mocking reaction from Daley.</p><p>&quot;Uh oh, Joe! You can't. Please,&quot; Daley said. The mayor then turned to the crowd of reporters in the room, who often quote Moore disagreeing with the mayor.</p><p>&quot;You can't interview him anymore. What's going to happen?&quot; Daley asked with a laugh.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="350" height="263" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/stone web.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>Ald. Carrie Austin of the 34th Ward, the budget committee chair, says the parking meter funds were needed to prevent steep service cuts and tax increases. Austin ridiculed those who spoke against the budget.</p><p>&quot;[If] you got suggestions, if you've got alternatives, if you've got revenue suggestions, bring them forth,&quot; she challenged.</p><p>At a press conference after the vote, Daley dismissed criticism that his budget just kicks the city's financial problems down the road.<br /><br />&quot;No, I don't kick the can. I never kick the can in my life,&quot; the mayor said.<br /><br />Daley, who is not seeking re-election in next year's city elections, insists Chicago is in better financial shape than when he took office in 1989.</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 00:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bob-fioretti/mayor-daleys-final-budget-passes At least Quinn is up-front about nepotism. It's strangely refreshing, eh? http://www.wbez.org/blog/least-quinn-front-about-nepotism-its-strangely-refreshing-eh <p><a href="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//AP070118039869.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-19260" title="Paul Simons Daughter" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//AP070118039869.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="345" /></a> <strong>Top story</strong>: Sheila Simon is now<a href="http://chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40975"> officially the democratic nominee for Lt. Governor</a>.‚  It's at least refreshing‚ that our governor is up front about nepotism. He even goes on to cite it in the press conference announcing her. You can tell he's from Chicago (OK, Hinsdale). But what is it with Illinois politics? Is there anyone who's Dad wasn't already an influential politician? Oh, right, one dude - and he's now President. And the other is awaiting trial for corruption. <strong>B story</strong>: There must have been some super-strategy meetings at <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> when considering Rod Blagojevich. He really has nothing to offer that show and yet, they just keep letting him play. And at the end of the day, Trump goes out of his way to not only edit in some of his political nonsense (for comedy), but even gives him shout-outs in the board meeting about what a good, nice guy he is. What was with the "I understand you have to be nice, jurors could be fans of other players..." bit? My theory? <!--break-->The numbers for <em>Celebrity Apprentice's</em> in the past were way down in Chicago. This is a big market, so they had to get a big-market presence. And Sammy Sosa wasn't available. Once Blago is fired? It'll be like 'Earth Hour' where you can feel the collective shutting off of television sets across our fair city. Until then, Sunday night is popcorn party time at my house. <strong>C story</strong>:‚  Forget putting reality TV cameras on the White Sox, put them on City Hall. On Friday, <a href="http://chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=40958">Mayor Daley just shut off Alderman Joe Moore's microphone</a>. He has a button to do that. And he just shut it off.‚  I wish they could now go into a confessional room and tell us about how they both feel. Oh wait, that's what the media is for. And this was over street-sweeping? Imagine what would happen if Moore actually took Daley to task over something bigger, like, say, the city budget. I think Daley might just go over to his desk and rip the microphone out. <strong>Weather</strong>: You gotta love that it will be 70+ later this week. It's time for everyone who gained a few pounds this winter to pull out the spring/summer wardrobe and try and fit into those shorts. <strong>Sports</strong>: Hey Illini fans, remember when you were in the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Scheyer" target="_blank">Final Four and that skinny kid from Northbrook</a> was thinking of going to your school but then decided to go to Duke instead? Yeah, Jon Scheyer got there before you did. And DePaul fans...you realize your team <a href="http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/gamecenter/recap/NCAAB_20100327_BUT@KSST/butler-ousts-kstate-rides-24game-win-streak-into-first-final-four" target="_blank">could be Butler</a>, right? <strong>Kicker</strong>: Did you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67xoLtlwsdM" target="_blank">see former President George W. Bush wipe his hands on former President Bill Clinton's shoulder</a> after shaking hands with someone in Haiti? The clip is exactly why we have the internet. 15 years ago, that would NEVER make it to a broadcast news platform. But today, there is a place for it in our daily media diet. And then, well, MSNBC and all cable channels pick it up and show it over and over and over again, thus making us less fond of the clip that we first saw on-line. Moral of the story? We need a second internet.</p> Mon, 29 Mar 2010 09:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/least-quinn-front-about-nepotism-its-strangely-refreshing-eh