WBEZ | Mayor Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/mayor-rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Alderman says police overtime is main reason he voted against mayor's budget http://www.wbez.org/news/alderman-says-police-overtime-main-reason-he-voted-against-mayors-budget-111140 <p><div>Just four out of 50 aldermen voted not to approve Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s $7.3 billion budget for next year. 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack said the main reason he voted against it was unanswered questions about the Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s portion of the pie. More specifically, the department&rsquo;s growing overtime costs&mdash;and the lack of information on the expense.<p>Waguespack said over the last couple of years, he and other members of the self-titled Progressive Caucus repeatedly have asked both the budget office and the police department for more information on police overtime. And, during budget hearings last month, Waguespack directly asked Supt. Garry McCarthy for a month-by-month breakdown of overtime costs. The superintendent and budget committee chair agreed it was a request the police department could fulfill&mdash;but it didn&rsquo;t.</p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;re just gonna vote yes, even though we don&rsquo;t know about $100 million worth of budgeting and specifics on it? That is unacceptable,&rdquo; Waguespack said. &ldquo;We actually have to vote on it, which really puts us in a horrible position.&rdquo;<p>Waguespack said he didn&rsquo;t receive anything from CPD or the city budget office on the issue before he cast his vote Wednesday. Waguespack also said he and others were mocked by fellow aldermen for asking about hiring more officers in lieu of spending millions on overtime. Other members of the council echoed the superintendent&rsquo;s stance that it would cost more to employ additional officers.</p>&ldquo;I found that pretty offensive,&rdquo; Waugespack said, &ldquo;especially when the police department superintendent himself could not provide details about how his budget worked from month to month.&rdquo;<p>Waguespack believes the lack of transparency on the subject shows that the police department is &ldquo;out of control&rdquo; in the way it&rsquo;s budgeting for overtime. In 2013, CPD budgeted $32 million for overtime but wound up spending over $100 million. This year&rsquo;s projected expense is $95 - $100 million, more than $20 million over what was budgeted.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;re providing evidence to the people of the city that shows they should be allowed to continue doing this,&rdquo; Waguespack said, adding that it&rsquo;s bad policy to carry on this way.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chart.PNG" style="height: 172px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Waguespack was part of a group that last year supported an amendment to spend $25 million to hire 500 new cops to deal with violent crimes&mdash;but the plan was blocked in committee. Fellow Progressive Caucus member Ald. John Arena (45th) voted for that amendment too.&nbsp; He pointed out the trend to overspend on overtime during budget hearings last month&mdash;and asked Supt. Garry McCarthy if [the proposed] $71 million was going to be sufficient for next year?</p><p>&ldquo;You know what, alderman, I can&rsquo;t answer that...I really can&rsquo;t,&rdquo; McCarthy said. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t answer that next year we&rsquo;re going to do that much better. We&rsquo;re trying to knock it down. We&#39;re putting systems in place to do that, and slowly but surely I anticipate we&#39;re going to bring it under control.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ pressed the police department for an explanation as to why Waguespack&rsquo;s request was not fulfilled before the budget was called for a vote. CPD spokesman Martin Maloney wrote in a statement that the CPD receives numerous information request during the budget process. And that &ldquo;if any of these responses have not yet made it to the inquiring aldermen, they will be delivered soon.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p><em>Katie O&#39;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/alderman-says-police-overtime-main-reason-he-voted-against-mayors-budget-111140 Quinn signs Chicago pension bill as Emanuel backs off property tax hike http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Pat-Quinn-AP-Seth-Perlman-(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 5:15 p.m.</em></p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a controversial overhaul of two Chicago pension systems into law on Monday, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed he wouldn&#39;t raise property taxes for at least a year to pay for the pension changes.</p><p>Those changes, which were pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and approved by state lawmakers in April, would scale back retirement benefits and requite City Hall to pump more money into the troubled pension funds for laborers and municipal workers. The municipal fund is projected to have only 37 percent of the money it will need in the future, while fund for laborers will have just over half the money it will need.</p><p>To bolster the two ailing pension funds, Emanuel had been pushing to raise Chicago property taxes by $50 million a year, netting the city $750 million dollars in new revenue over a five-year phase-in period. Emanuel backed off that plan after Quinn signed the bill on Monday.</p><p>In a statement released after Monday&#39;s bill signing, Quinn reiterated his disdain for that approach.</p><p>&quot;I strongly urge the Mayor and City Council to follow our lead and identify a comprehensive, balanced solution to Chicago&#39;s pension crisis,&quot; Quinn wrote, referring to a recent overhaul of the state&#39;s pension systems. &quot;Chicago&#39;s finances can and should be set on the track to long-term stability in a way that does not hit homeowners the hardest.&quot;</p><p>In a phone interview with WBEZ minutes after the governor&#39;s office announced he&#39;d signed the bill, Emanuel suggested the city could raise its monthly telephone tax to free up more money for pensions.</p><p>&quot;It gives us the opportunity now to take property taxes off the table for the first year,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>On Friday, Quinn signed a law that will allow Chicago to increase its monthly telephone tax from the current $2.50 to $3.90, which some speculated could be used to pay for pensions. The new revenue must fund the city&#39;s 911 call system, but a hike would also make more money available for the higher city pension contributions required by the new law.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re gonna find a lot of efficiences and savings,&quot; Emanuel said. &quot;We now have a year to see alternatives, and we have the breathing room now to do that, which we secured.&quot;</p><p>The mayor would not say how he&#39;d pay for higher pension costs after next year, nor did he outline any fix for the ailing pension funds for police, firefighters and Chicago teachers. But the new tack relieves him of having to convince aldermen to raise property taxes, just months before the citywide elections in February 2015. It also gets Quinn out of a political pickle.</p><p>Easing the property tax burden on Illinoisans has been a pillar of the governor&rsquo;s 2015 state budget proposal. Signing the bill would have opened up the governor to more attacks from his Republican gubernatorial challenger, Bruce Rauner, who <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/robo-calls-raise-rauner-rahm-rift/tue-04222014-613pm">has already argued</a> that Quinn would be paving the way for a tax increase with his signature.</p><p>The mayor&#39;s administration says the pension bill signed Monday would solve about half of Chicago&rsquo;s roughly $20 billion public pension problem, largely by cutting back benefits for current and future retirees. But it could take decades for those penison funds to become healthy again.</p><p>More than 22,000 retirees would lose their 3 percent compounding annual benefit increase. Instead, retirees would see their pension checks increase at a flat 3 percent or half the rate of inflation, whichever is less. And all but the poorest workers would receive no increase at all in 2017, 2019 and 2025.</p><p>That means, under the bill&rsquo;s provisions, a retiree with a $35,500 annual pension would see their benefit grow to nearly $40,000 by 2025, according to a WBEZ analysis. But under the current system, their pension would be about $49,000 by that time.</p><p>More than 34,000 current city workers would have to pay more into the pension systems, but get less out of it once they retire. By 2019, workers would be paying 11 percent of each paycheck toward retirement, compared to the current 8.5 percent. That contribution rate would drop to 9.75 percent once the pension funds are healthy, which could take decades.</p><p>City Hall would also pay more. The bill would finally do away with the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329">anachronistic funding formula</a> Chicago has used for decades to calculate its annual pension contributions, which is a primary cause of the current underfunding crisis. And if future politicians try to skimp on payments, the pension funds will be empowered to take City Hall to court, while the state could begin intercepting the city&rsquo;s share of state money.</p><p>Meanwhile, a coalition of powerful city workers&#39; unions released a statement late Monday slamming the governor&#39;s action because they believe the bill violates a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con13.htm">Illinois Constitution</a>&nbsp;that says pension benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or impaired.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;Unfortunately, some elected officials have chosen to ignore the constitution...opting instead to slash the retirement life savings of our city&#39;s public health professionals, teachers&#39; aides, librarians, cafeteria workers, and other public employees and retirees,&quot; the statement reads. &quot;The Mayor&#39;s plan is unfair and unconstitutional, and our unions intend to seek justice and will be preparing to file suit.&quot;</p><p>Gov. Quinn has talked about the Chicago pension plan in the context of a tax system that he says allows municipalities and local governments to rely too much on property tax rates to pay their bills.</p><p>&ldquo;The property tax is not based on ability to pay,&rdquo; Quinn told an audience of civic and political leaders earlier this year. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re using a 19th century property tax system to fund the most important part of the 21st century: educating our students.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn&rsquo;s Republican opponent in the November gubernatorial election, Bruce Rauner, has said he would veto the bill because of the calls for higher property taxes on Chicago residents. Rauner even went so far as to release automated phone calls, urging residents to call their state representative or senator to vote against the bill while it was being debated in Springfield.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe"><em>Alex Keefe</em></a><em> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics"><em>Twitter</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028"><em>Google+</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306 Manager of troubled Illinois anti-violence program now running similar agency http://www.wbez.org/news/manager-troubled-illinois-anti-violence-program-now-running-similar-agency-110147 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/irving and rahm.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED at 5:22 p.m.</em></p><p>The head of a troubled state-managed anti-violence agency is now running a similar public-private partnership in Chicago.</p><p><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.getinchicago.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEm3NK0EJtz5koyM5O9a8ZBoPwdMA">Get In Chicago</a> is a $50 million initiative designed to award grants to community groups around Chicago working to reduce violence. On Wednesday, while at a news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Get In Chicago announced 11 winners of grants totaling $1.9 million. Get In Chicago is a public-private partnership, funded by many of the area&rsquo;s largest corporations and run by Toni Irving, who has experience managing a similar program meant to combat violence.</p><p>In 2010, Irving worked for Gov. Pat Quinn and helped develop what became known as the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. That program is now the subject of multiple investigations by Illinois lawmakers, Cook County prosecutors and federal prosecutors.</p><p>An audit from February shows a long list of problems related to the management of the state money that funded the program. The audit found the state did not adequately monitor how the cash was being spent, and the money wasn&rsquo;t going to the most violent neighborhoods. Illinois Republicans have criticized the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative as a slush fund designed to support groups that could&rsquo;ve helped Gov. Pat Quinn win election during his heated 2010 campaign. Quinn has been dogged by reporters&rsquo; questions about the program in recent weeks, and says he ended the program after he saw some problems with it. That came after legislators raised questions about the program. Quinn initially designated nearly $45 million for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative through a fund he controls. The program&rsquo;s total initial budget was $55 million.</p><p>Last year, a press release announcing Irving as the new head of Get In Chicago touts Irving&rsquo;s involvement with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative as a reason why she&rsquo;s qualified to lead Get In Chicago. She also served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, conducting research on crime, race and social policy.</p><p>Irving wouldn&rsquo;t comment for this story Wednesday.</p><p>Thomas Wilson, the chairman of Northbrook-based Allstate Corporation, which is funding the anti-violence program, defends Irving. Wilson said there are many checks and balances in place to make sure the money from Get In Chicago is being well-spent.</p><p>&ldquo;This is really a state of the art process in terms of awarding money to help at-risk youth and Toni designed that process, she&rsquo;s run that process,&rdquo; Wilson said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m completely confident that will work well. And we&rsquo;re a large donor, so I should be focused on it.&rdquo;</p><p>Wilson said the money is going toward mentoring young people, engaging parents and therapy. He said the grant recipients have been thoroughly vetted and will have to commit to certain progress markers evaluated by the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Crime Lab.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to do measurement-based social philanthropy as opposed to just funding good activity programs,&rdquo; Wilson said.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at a separate news conference Wednesday, was asked about the timing of Get In Chicago&rsquo;s grant distribution - but not about scrutiny surrounding Irving. Emanuel said Get In Chicago is planning on raising $10 million for each of the next four years, which would go beyond his re-election campaign next year.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re doing it only one year and around the campaign season, I understand why people would get cynical,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;But given that it&rsquo;s also in the years that there is no campaign, but it&rsquo;s about safety, I would say then look at the consistency over the four year time.&rdquo;</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a512e35e-d848-da9f-7574-9961e3258063"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him </span><span style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" style="text-decoration:none;">@tonyjarnold</a></span></span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 16px; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap;">Clarification: Get In Chicago is a non-profit public-private partnership, not an agency of the City of Chicago. </span></p></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/manager-troubled-illinois-anti-violence-program-now-running-similar-agency-110147 Chicago teachers become students in Illinois politics http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-become-students-illinois-politics-110082 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CTPF.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago teachers have been getting lessons in Illinois politics in recent weeks.</p><p>While state lawmakers have been away from Springfield for a short break, teachers in the city have been turning the tables. They&rsquo;ve been getting a lesson in history, civics and, separate from civics, politics.</p><p>A group of current and retired teachers sat for a three-hour tutorial on how their pension is funded, why it&#39;s now so underfunded and what they can do about it.</p><p>Lesson number one: start calling state lawmakers. After they figured out who the leaders in Springfield even are, Bukola Bello, the lobbyist in Springfield for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, told the teachers which politicians they should be calling.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an election year. Everyone gets that,&rdquo; Bello said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an election year and because you have certain pressures from the mayor, certain individuals need more education than others. Wink wink.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is separate from the Chicago Teachers Union, although most union members get their retirement through it. And the pension fund is separate from the government, even though the public officials are the ones cutting the checks. That means the pension fund is stuck in the middle between the two sides that have been battling with each other about cutting retirement benefits.</p><p>During the training session, Bello kept reminding her students, the teachers, of this lesson in politics.</p><p>&ldquo;Legislators are our friends. Why are legislators our friends? Because ultimately we need something from them. We need their support. We need a vote. We need them to protect your pensions,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said Chicago teachers pensions are coming up on his lesson plan so the city&rsquo;s finances can be stabilized.</p><p>But Kevin Huber, who heads the pension fund, says something else should happen first. He&rsquo;s advocating for setting aside a tax levy so taxes go straight toward teacher&rsquo;s pensions and not to the board of education, which distributes the cash. He also said the Chicago Board of Education should contribute to the pension fund monthly, not annually.</p><p>Huber said he&rsquo;s training teachers how to talk to their lawmakers because they mean more to representatives than he does.<br />&ldquo;When we get the actual voters, they&rsquo;re more receptive,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Again, I can get meetings with all these people and I do, but they care about the vote.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, the governor and state lawmakers approved changes to state employees&rsquo; retirement benefits to save the government money, including suburban and downstate teachers. Unions representing those workers have sued over the plan, saying it hurts employees so much, it&rsquo;s unconstitutional. The lawsuit is still in court.</p><p>Dick Ingram, who runs the Teachers Retirement System for those teachers, said while those bills were being negotiated, he had to stay out of the back-and-forth between the unions and the lawmakers and just make sure money was still coming into the system.</p><p>&ldquo;We were gonna go broke unless there were changes made,&rdquo; Ingram said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not in the business of suggesting what those changes might be, but we can certainly help explain what the impact of proposed legislation would be.&rdquo;</p><p>Meantime, Debra McGhee, who sat through the three-hour training program at the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund and is retired from Bouchet International Academy in Chicago&rsquo;s South Shore neighborhood, was ready to tell her story to her representative.</p><p>&ldquo;We worked for this. This is ours and now you&rsquo;re talking about taking it away. We contributed (to) this. We didn&rsquo;t miss a payment,&rdquo; McGhee said. &ldquo;But you guys skipped out on where you&rsquo;re supposed to be. So now we&rsquo;re worried and we have to do something to try to put this back intact.&rdquo;</p><p>McGhee said she&rsquo;s nervous she&rsquo;ll be retiring at the poverty line because of benefit cuts. Her training session came as pension funds representing Chicago teachers, firefighters and police officers wait and see whether Gov. Pat Quinn signs the pension bills sitting on his desk affecting other groups of Chicago city workers. Quinn has not said whether he will sign that legislation into law, but he&rsquo;s been critical of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying he&rsquo;d have to raise property taxes in the city to help pay for pensions.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 07:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-become-students-illinois-politics-110082 Chicago to add new Barack Obama College Prep High School http://www.wbez.org/news/education/chicago-add-new-barack-obama-college-prep-high-school-110073 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMAG2549.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago is getting another selective enrollment high school.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday the city will build the Barack Obama College Preparatory High School on the Near North Side. It will enroll 1,200 students and is slated to be ready for the first 300 freshmen in the fall of 2017. The first students who will be eligible to enroll in the school are currently fifth graders.</p><p>Emanuel made clear in announcing the school he&rsquo;s responding to heavy demand for the city&rsquo;s top high schools&mdash;where many students need near perfect scores to be admitted. Emanuel said he recognizes the angst many parents face once their kids hit upper elementary school.</p><p>&ldquo;&rsquo;Where am I gonna send my child?&rsquo; It is the biggest anxious question that exists across the city of Chicago,&rdquo; Emanuel said at a press conference at Skinner North Elementary, a classical school that will see part of the park behind it gobbled up for the new high school.</p><p>&ldquo;Twenty-four hundred kids every year <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicagos-best-high-schools-who-gets-who-doesnt-97110" target="_blank">get turned away</a> who are prepared for our high schools; and we are not prepared for them. Well, we&rsquo;re gonna be prepared for them,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>Obama College Prep will be built on park district land near the corner of North Halsted and West Division streets, where the towers of Cabrini Green once stood. School officials said 70 percent of students will be admitted based on grades and test scores.</p><p>This will be the city&rsquo;s eleventh selective enrollment school and one of four elite public high schools clustered in a roughly one-and-a-half mile radius. Walter Payton College Prep, ranked one of the best schools in Illinois, is less than a mile away.</p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Location is &quot;a slap&quot;</strong></span></p><p>The location of the new school drew immediate criticism.</p><p>Teacher Ray Salazar said he was &ldquo;shocked&rdquo; to hear the city was locating another selective school on the North Side. Salazar said it showed &ldquo;city politics again are influencing decisions that benefit white, affluent families.&rdquo; He said any new selective school should be located on the Southwest Side.</p><p>&ldquo;We do not have a selective enrollment high school in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, and it is unfair that our high-achieving students have to travel over an hour to get to the nearest high-achieving school,&quot; said Salazar, who teaches writing at Hancock High, near 56th Street and Pulaski Road.</p><p>Salazar also said the system has become so competitive, disadvantaged students have trouble getting in at all. All selective schools have lower percentages of poor students than the district as a whole. At Payton, just 31 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, compared to 85 percent citywide.</p><p>West Side activist Dwayne Truss called an Obama High near Halsted and Division &ldquo;a slap to both black families and children.&rdquo; Truss said the money planned for the school should be used &ldquo;to provide adequate funding for all of Chicago&rsquo;s neighborhood schools rather than cater to wealthy middle-class families the school is targeting.&rdquo;</p><p>Others wondered why Obama&rsquo;s name was going on a North Side school when the president lived and worked on the South Side. &ldquo;He knows about it and he&rsquo;s excited about it,&rdquo; said Emanuel. It would be the first CPS school to be named after a living person.<br /><br />Emanuel said the location for the new school was chosen because the land was available, it&rsquo;s on various transportation routes, and&mdash;perhaps most importantly&mdash;it&rsquo;s in a TIF district with $60 million available.</p><p>Thirty percent of the seats at Obama High will be set aside for students nearby.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a provision 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett said he pushed for &ldquo;because we should not spend money in a neighborhood and people from the neighborhood cannot go to the school,&rdquo; said Burnett. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s asinine. This is the TIF money that&rsquo;s supposed to go back in the neighborhood that comes from the people in the neighborhood. I did the same thing with Westinghouse. When Westinghouse was built, they used my TIF money, (and) I told them they have to have a neighborhood component.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://newwestinghouse.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=56511&amp;type=d&amp;termREC_ID=&amp;pREC_ID=81978&amp;hideMenu=1">Westinghouse College Prep </a>has selective admissions and a less competitive &ldquo;career&rdquo; track, but admission to that program still requires minimum test scores and an extensive student essay. No students are automatically admitted to the school by virtue of their address.</p><p>Emanuel has come under fire for miraculously coming up with money for big-ticket capital projects at vaunted North Side schools with well-connected parents&mdash; current additions are underway at <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131111/lincoln-park/overcrowded-lincoln-elementary-get-three-story-19-classroom-annex" target="_blank">Lincoln</a>, Coonley and <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/22644102-418/payton-college-prep-to-get-17-million-annex-room-for-up-to-400-more-kids.html" target="_blank">Payton</a>&mdash;while students on the Southwest and Northwest Sides <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/no-simple-answers-chicagos-severely-overcrowded-schools-107651">hold class in trailers and stairwells due to overcrowding</a>.</p><p>A new Near North Side high school was <a href="http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Policies_and_guidelines/Documents/CPSEducationalFacilitiesMasterPlan.pdf">not called for in the Facilities Master Plan</a> the district adopted less than a year ago; that plan actually predicts a drop in the population of 15-to-19-year-olds living in the area. And the district admits it has an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/future-uncertain-chicagos-neighborhood-high-schools-108834" target="_blank">oversupply of high school seats</a>.</p><p>Asked how another North Side selective school fits into what many view as a two-tiered educational system, Emanuel said he rejects that view. But analyses show that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/greater-segregation-regions-black-latino-students-100452">racial segregation in the system is increasing</a>, with the middle class disproportionately concentrated in CPS&#39;s magnet and gifted schools, and many charter and neighborhood schools enrolling disproportionate numbers of low-income and minority kids.</p><p>Emanuel said strong schools exist in minority communities and pointed to his efforts to strengthen neighborhood high schools with new International Baccalaureate and STEM programs.</p><p>Lakeview parent Patricia O&rsquo;Keefe, who has three grammar-school-aged children in three different selective schools, praised the decision to expand the number of selective high school seats.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s heartbreaking to see kids turned down who are completely qualified. So from my lens, it is a fantastic thing,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Keefe said.</p><p>And O&rsquo;Keefe believes it may help parents buy into the system rather than fleeing to the suburbs or private schools.</p><p>&ldquo;If you get more confidence in the city about high school, I think you reach a tipping point where everything will start to get better.... Something like this will not only help the selective enrollment, but it helps the whole momentum of high schools in general.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Linda Lutton is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/chicago-add-new-barack-obama-college-prep-high-school-110073 Mayor's borrowing authority hiked by council http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP168520649673_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen today gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration its final okay to borrow up to $900 million dollars to pay for city equipment, capital projects, and legal settlements, and to refinance old debt.</p><p>The City Council also approved another $1 billion in borrowing for Midway Airport, and agreed to double the city&rsquo;s short-term borrowing limit from the current $500 million to $1 billion.</p><p>The borrowing plans all passed on a 43-4 vote, with no debate.</p><p>Alderman John Arena (45th Ward) said he voted no because the Emanuel administration did not give specifics on exactly how the newly borrowed money would be spent.</p><p>&ldquo;Unless we have a real debate on this, a real dialogue, and get real information from the administration in real time -- and enough time to make an educated vote -- then I&rsquo;m gonna continue to vote no on these types of things,&rdquo; Arena said after the vote.</p><p>Also voting against the borrowing plans were 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti. Ed Burke, the alderman of the 14th Ward and chairman of the powerful Finance Committee that held a hearing on the borrowing plans, abstained from voting.</p><p>Though the city got the council&rsquo;s authorization to issue up to $900 million on bonds, the Emanuel administration will likely issue about $650 million, said city Finance Department spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. About $349 million of that would help pay for legal settlements, capital projects, and so-called &ldquo;aldermanic menu&rdquo; accounts that aldermen use at their discretion to fund projects in their wards.</p><p>But some financial watchdogs have raised concerns about the other roughly $301 million in borrowing, which will be used to restructure debt. At least some of that -- up to $130 million -- could be used to push upcoming debt payments off into the future. That means the city saves money with smaller payments in the short term, but ends up paying more in the long-run.</p><p>The city will likely issue $550 million of the Midway Airport bonds for upgrades to runways and taxiways, Quinn said.</p><p>The short-term credit extension doubles the amount of so-called &ldquo;commercial paper&rdquo; the city can borrow. It is often used to cover city operations.</p><p>The first bond issue, set for March, will mark Chicago&rsquo;s first test of the municipal bond market since July, when Moody&rsquo;s Investors Service <a href="https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Chicago-to-A3-from-Aa3-affecting-82-billion--PR_278069">hit the city</a> with a triple downgrade of its bond rating, citing the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329">massive pension problems</a>.</p><p>Much like a person with a bad credit score, governments with low bond ratings have to pay higher interest rates when they borrow money.</p><p>Emanuel defended his borrowing requests after Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting as the usual course of government business.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s typical efforts to invest in our streets, our sidewalks, light poles -- all the other infrastructure that improves our neighborhoods,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel added the city&rsquo;s budget problems are deep enough that it will take time to dig out of them.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe" target="_blank">Alex Keefe</a>&nbsp;is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 Illinois DOC says revised gun bill would still be costly http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-doc-says-revised-gun-bill-would-still-be-costly-109185 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP168520649673_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois prison officials say revised legislation stiffening penalties for gun crimes would still cost hundreds of millions of dollars and add inmates to the crowded correctional system.</p><p>The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers <a href="http://bit.ly/1fc0j4h">reports</a>&nbsp;the figures come from the Illinois Department of Corrections.</p><p>The agency says the latest version of the gun bill would add nearly 2,500 inmates to the state&#39;s prison system and cost another $579 million over 10 years. That covers operating and construction costs.</p><p>The amended bill is backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and makes illegal gun-holders serve more prison time. But the measure stalled in the Illinois House after members of the Legislative Black Caucus stopped the bill through a procedural move.</p><p>The original measure required a three-year mandatory sentence for first-time offenders.</p></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-doc-says-revised-gun-bill-would-still-be-costly-109185 Parents lose fight to keep military school out http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-lose-fight-keep-military-school-out-109044 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/military school.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A group of Chicago parents lost a year-and-half battle to keep the city from converting their neighborhood middle school to a military academy.</p><p dir="ltr">At a press conference Tuesday at Marine Math and Science Academy on the West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed that Ames Middle School, in the Logan Square neighborhood, will become a military academy.</p><p dir="ltr">The mayor&rsquo;s office originally said Marine would be re-located to the Ames building, but school officials now say Marine is not moving.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Becky Carroll said Wednesday that Ames will be &ldquo;another option for students who wish to pursue attendance at a military school.... And, it&#39;s likely that many students who live in the Ames community, but attend Marine, may choose to enroll there.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Ames principal is scheduled to stay on, one source told WBEZ. Ames school will be affiliated with the United States Marine Corps, as Marine Math and Science Academy is. And current Marine Math and Science students who want to transfer to Ames will not have to go through the normal application process, the source said.</p><p dir="ltr">About two-dozen Ames parents and students protested outside Tuesday&rsquo;s news conference. They said Ames is a school with deep roots in the neighborhood, with before- and after-school activities, a clinic and a lauded parent-mentor program--all built with community sweat.</p><p dir="ltr">The parents <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/logan-square-parents-we-want-voice-military-school-proposal-103597">long suspected</a> plans to convert Ames to a military academy were in the works&mdash;even before 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado publicly <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121126/logan-square/parents-protest-proposal-turn-ames-middle-school-into-marine-academy">proposed the idea</a>&mdash;but they were assured by school district officials that nothing would happen without their consultation.</p><p dir="ltr">The conversion of Ames to a military school will increase the number of military academy seats in Chicago Public Schools by 50 percent, according to the city.</p><p dir="ltr">The city has six military academies, more than any other school district in the country. The mayor touted higher-than-normal graduation and college-going rates for the schools in the announcement.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They are setting the standard for where we want the whole system to move,&rdquo; said Emanuel, who outlined the expansion of military academy seats as part of his strategy to give Chicago parents and students more choice. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The city says there is high demand for its military schools&mdash;six applications for every seat&mdash; though the current way high school applications work in Chicago tends to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/how-much-demand-there-chicago-charter-schools-no-one-knows-106418">exaggerate demand</a> for schools, with many students applying to multiple schools, including schools they don&rsquo;t actually plan to attend.</p><p dir="ltr">District officials said moving Marine to the Ames building was pushed by the alderman. A press release from the mayor&rsquo;s staff pointed out that Ames is under-enrolled and received the lowest of three grades Chicago gives to schools.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;(That) does heighten the sensitivity to making some change to try to improve that&mdash;we&rsquo;d like to have all our schools be Level 1 schools,&rdquo; said School Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz, who took questions about the decision. Ruiz said the alderman held public forums and conducted a &ldquo;professional poll&rdquo; that showed significant community support for the military academy. He said there are times when communities are divided over what they want. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But Ames parents said they&rsquo;d been lied to, citing a promise made at a December 2012 school board meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/raw-audio-december-2012" target="_blank">There are no plans to change Ames Middle School into a military school</a>,&rdquo; School Board President David Vitale said then, telling Ames parents it wasn&rsquo;t necessary for them to come to every school board meeting to plead for their school&rsquo;s survival. &ldquo;Sometimes you have to stop listening to all the rumors in the neighborhood,&rdquo; Vitale told parents. &ldquo;And if you want, you can give me a phone call to find out if anything&rsquo;s changed.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">CPS officials say Vitale said publicly that plans could be in the works at a subsequent school board meeting, in July.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">At that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-CiexfovUU">July meeting</a>, Ald. Maldonado presented a poll of 300 nearby-Ames residents which showed that 72 percent supported a military academy at Ames. &ldquo;The board looks forward to supporting you and your community with your objective,&rdquo; Vitale said then. &ldquo;We look forward to working with you and making this happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Ames parent Emma Segura was among those protesting the decision Tuesday. She said she has nothing against military schools in principle, but wondered about neighborhood students who can&rsquo;t get into the school&mdash;and lamented the loss of a bilingual program.</p><p dir="ltr">Segura said her son and nephew are both 7th graders at Ames, but worries that keeping the family together might not be possible when the military academy&rsquo;s more restrictive admissions policies take effect.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If one (child) stays here and then I have to send the other one (elsewhere), it&rsquo;s gonna be hard for me to cut myself in half and drive one here and the other one there. And for most parents that&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s gonna happen. If the kids don&rsquo;t get accepted to this school, where else can they take them?&rdquo; Segura wondered.</p><p dir="ltr">Marine Math and Science&rsquo;s website indicates that students applying for 9th grade need to attend an information session, meet minimum test-score requirements, have an &ldquo;A/B average,&rdquo; good conduct and be &ldquo;compliant with uniform policy.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The district said all current Ames students will be able to continue at the school, whether or not they meet Marine&rsquo;s admissions standards.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The Ames building--constructed in 1993--will get $7 million in improvements before the military academy moves in. The money, from the city&rsquo;s Tax Increment Finance funds, will pay for new science and computer labs and classrooms for music and art.</p><p dir="ltr">Becky Vevea contributed reporting.</p><p><em>Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea cover education for WBEZ. Follow them <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 21:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-lose-fight-keep-military-school-out-109044 Researchers say Emanuel should hire cops, not push mandatory minimums http://www.wbez.org/news/researchers-say-emanuel-should-hire-cops-not-push-mandatory-minimums-108967 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Exterior Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Over the last year, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been asked about gun violence, he&rsquo;s talked about the need for three-year mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><div><p dir="ltr">In many ways the mandatory minimums have been a centerpiece of the mayor&rsquo;s response to gun violence. His push for longer sentences reached a bit of a fever pitch last week as he held a press conference with the parents of young people who have been killed. With parents struggling to hold back tears, Emanuel reacted to estimates that it would cost as much as $130 million a year to house all the inmates who got the longer sentences.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I will never, ever, ever, accept the notion that a human life is reduced to whether a state budget can take in the issue from a cost benefit analysis, because there is no way I&rsquo;m going to look them in the eye and say, &lsquo;Cleo, Nate, Pam, the Worthams, I&rsquo;d like to give you a cost benefit analysis on how we look at the violent criminals that should have been behind bars,&rdquo; said Emanuel.</p><p dir="ltr">Now one thing about that: Emanuel doesn&rsquo;t actually need to worry about the cost/benefit analysis because all the costs would fall on the state, which pays for prisons, not on the city of Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">As for the benefits, well, there&rsquo;s been a lot of hubbub about that recently.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>U of C memo challenges the new orthodoxy on mandatory minimums</strong></p><p dir="ltr">In response to the price tag, the University of Chicago Crime Lab released a research memo a week and a half ago arguing that Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimums would actually be a good deal. Given the starring role mandatory minimums have played in this country&rsquo;s 40-year incarceration binge, Crime Lab Co-Director Harold Pollack says he understands people are skeptical of any effort to increase prison sentences.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I get that. I respect that,&rdquo; said Pollack. But, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think we can allow that real historical context to blind us to the urgent need to deal more effectively and in a more focused way with the gun violence in this city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Pollack says we&rsquo;re not talking about 25 years for drug possession. It&rsquo;s three years for carrying an illegal gun, a crime that creates a more dangerous environment for everyone.</p><p dir="ltr">The Crime Lab memo also argues that giving a three-year sentence to everyone caught carrying an illegal gun will incapacitate offenders who are likely to reoffend and the crimes prevented will save taxpayers ---outweighing the costs of incarceration.</p><p dir="ltr">The memo also argues the mandatory minimums will deter crime.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s little evidence that making the consequences any more severe than they already are has a deterrent effect,&rdquo; said Daniel Nagin from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.</p><p dir="ltr">Nagin has studied what&nbsp;does&nbsp;deter crime. He says traditionally we&rsquo;ve thought that the certainty of punishment stops&nbsp;would-be criminals. That&rsquo;s the idea behind mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But when you look more closely at the evidence, the proper conclusion is that the certainty of apprehension is a very effective deterrent,&rdquo; said Nagin.</p><p dir="ltr">And who apprehends criminals? It&rsquo;s not mandatory minimums. It&rsquo;s police.</p><p dir="ltr">Nagin gives the example of two men getting into an argument. If one of them has a gun nearby, but there&rsquo;s a police car right there, he&rsquo;s unlikely to pull out the gun.</p><p dir="ltr">If Illinois is willing to spend $130 million on &ldquo;the problem of gun violence, they should direct those resources to policing,&rdquo; said Nagin.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Zalewski pushing Emanuel&rsquo;s bill in Springfield</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Mike Zalewski is the state representative sponsoring Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimum bill in Springfield. We spent an hour talking in his loop law office about why he&rsquo;s sponsoring this bill, given the cost and the legacy of mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">He cited the crime lab memo but then went on to say, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very nice to have studies and it&rsquo;s very nice to sit in offices and compile data and think about ways in which the world should work, but we don&rsquo;t live in that world when we have these shootings and Superintendent McCarthy doesn&rsquo;t live in that world, and Anita Alvarez doesn&rsquo;t live in that world and what they&rsquo;re telling us is they need help and when that happens, when law enforcement cries out for help, it&rsquo;s our duty to step up,&rdquo; Zalewski said.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Political Theater?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Chicgao Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been making the case for mandatory minimums several times a week over the last year, but Frank Zimring, a criminologist who studied the astonishing crime decline in New York doesn&rsquo;t buy what McCarthy is selling.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Superintendent McCarthy knows better than he says here,&rdquo; Zimring said in a phone interview with WBEZ last week. &ldquo;If you injected truth serum in Superintendent McCarthy, he&rsquo;d tell you a somewhat different story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Zimring says the 80 percent drop in crime and homicides over the last 20 years in New York City could not have been because of mandatory minimums. The mandatory minimums in New York City that McCarthy and Emanuel like to talk about weren&rsquo;t even passed there until 2006, after most of the crime decline had already occurred.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What&rsquo;s going on here is much more theater,&rdquo; said Zimring.</p><p dir="ltr">Mike Tonry agrees. He teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School and is widely respected nationally as an expert on deterrence. He says, &ldquo;Laws like this are primarily symbolic. They&rsquo;re primarily a way that public officials can demonstrate that they are doing something about a disturbing problem even though there is no valid basis for believing that that something will make any difference in the real world.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">If Tonry and Zimring are right and this is political theater, it&rsquo;s pretty heavy theater. At a press conference last week Mayor Emanuel addressed the grieving parents who joined him, including Hadiya Pendleton&rsquo;s mother.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I want to thank you for, for taking your personal pain and trying to make it into a public good to make us better. And I know how painful it is to be here, to speak about this and I know this, Cleo, that it brings it all back and makes it fresh again,&rdquo; said Emanuel.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Researchers seem to agree on what it takes to bring down gun violence</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel has put some money into preventive programs and talks about the need for a comprehensive gun violence strategy. But if you&rsquo;re looking to reduce gun violence, there&rsquo;s one thing that all the researchers I talked to agree on: They all say there&rsquo;s lots of research that shows increasing the number of police brings down gun crime. Zimring, who studied New York City, says that city &nbsp;increased its police department by 41 percent in the 90s and that was one of the keys to its success.</p><p dir="ltr">But increasing the size of the Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one thing Emanuel has not done. Candidate Emanuel promised to use TIF money to hire a thousand new officers. He never did, though he repeatedly told the public he did. In fact, one of his spokespeople made the claim to me again last week.</p><p dir="ltr">In reality he shut down some large police units and shifted those officers to beats and said they were new officers on the street. That most certainly was political theater.</p><p dir="ltr">The last word will go to Steven Raphael. He teaches public policy at the University of California Berkeley. He has one fairly simple question for Illinois legislators considering Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to spend this amount of money to address this problem, what is the best use of these funds? You&rsquo;ve considered one alternative that at the moment the rest of the country is abandoning and so, is there another way that these monies could be used to combat crime,&rdquo; Raphael said.</p><p>Rep. Zalewski, the sponsor of the bill, says he didn&rsquo;t have the votes he needed in the spring, but that now may be the right time to bring mandatory minimums to a vote.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 05:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/researchers-say-emanuel-should-hire-cops-not-push-mandatory-minimums-108967 The data behind Chicago's gun crimes http://www.wbez.org/news/data-behind-chicagos-gun-crimes-108092 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chicagounderthegun.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&#39;s City Council&nbsp;unanimously approved two measures to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086"><em>toughen </em></a>Chicago&#39;s gun laws on Wednesday, in an effort to tamp down gun-related violence.</p><div><table align="left" border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width: 620px; margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px;"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><strong><a name="chart"></a>Chicago&#39;s shooting problem</strong></td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" style="width: 350px; height: 638px;" /></a></td><td rowspan="2" style="vertical-align: top; width: 255px; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><p>About this map:</p><ul><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Chicago&#39;s overall shootings, sans homicides, have dropped from <strong>4,176</strong> in 2002 to <strong>1,887</strong> last year. That&#39;s more than a <strong>54%</strong> drop.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">The areas that were the former location Chicago housing projects such as <strong>Cabrini Green</strong> and the <strong>Robert Taylor Homes</strong> have seen dramatic drops in shootings, however shooting activity has spread to adjacent areas.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Shooting activity was more widespread on the North Side, but now is only really prevalent in Uptown and Rogers Park.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">The Near South Side, which includes the South Loop neighborhood has experienced a drop in shootings from a 2003 high of <strong>15</strong>, and now has about <strong>1</strong> annually.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Areas with a lot of economic and real estate development such as West Town and Logan Square saw some of the greatest decreases in shootings.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Logan Square dropped from <strong>91</strong> shootings to <strong>13</strong>, or <strong>85%</strong> from 2002 to 2012. West Town dropped <strong>75% </strong>from <strong>108 </strong>to <strong>27 </strong>shootings that same period.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Areas such as Kenwood and Hyde Park are largely insulated from some of the South Side violence to its western boundaries, but crimes do occur there. The<a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/01/30/mayor-emanuel-gets-emotional-after-shooting-claims-life-of-teen/"> murder of Hadiya Pendleton </a>this year in Kenwood gained national attention.</span></li></ul></td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><strong><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ff0000;">Click to download this animated map &raquo;</span></a></strong></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><p><em>Source: <strong><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Shootings-between-2002-2012/w435-t7xh">data.cityofchicago.org</a></strong></em><br /><em>Crime data reflects only aggravated batteries (shootings) with a gun or firearm from 2002-2012. Homicide data as divided by guns vs. stabbings, etc., is not readily available before 2006, and was not included in this map.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dGVseEZVQlJHWWlHcDhHS2hSVXlIX1E&transpose=1&headers=1&range=A2%3AG4&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":null,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Handguns vs. other firearms in 2012","animation":{"duration":0},"backgroundColor":{"fill":"#d9d9d9"},"domainAxis":{"direction":1},"legend":"in","theme":"maximized","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"isStacked":true,"width":620,"height":291},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dGVseEZVQlJHWWlHcDhHS2hSVXlIX1E&transpose=1&headers=1&range=A2%3AG5&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","animation":{"duration":500},"legend":"right","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"width":605,"height":226},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 2"} </script><br /><em>Firearm/gun data for homicides was not readily available, but media accounts would indicate that they are mostly caused by handguns.</em></td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>Whether or not the new restrictions will make a difference in Chicago&#39;s gun crime is yet to be seen.</p><p>One of the new laws clarifies which types of assault weapons qualify as banned, under &nbsp;the city&#39;s restriction of high-capacity magazines. &nbsp;Meanwhile, the vast majority of Chicago&#39;s gun-related crimes are committed using handguns.&nbsp;</p><p>The other new measure creates school safety or &quot;Safe Passage&quot;&nbsp;zones, defined as the area within 1,000 ft of a school.</p><p>&quot;We all have a role to play in building safe communities, and that includes keeping weapons designed for the battlefield off our streets and punishing those who carry or use weapons around school children with stiff penalties,&quot;&nbsp;Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>The city&#39;s move follows the state&#39;s vote to&nbsp;legalize carrying concealed weapons&nbsp;last week.&nbsp;A federal appeals court found Illinois&#39; previous concealed carry ban unconstitutional. The state was the last in the U.S. to impose such a prohibition.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-confirm-500-murders-2012-104615">Depending on who you ask</a>, the city&#39;s homicide numbers can vary, but according to the RedEye, there were&nbsp;<strong>516&nbsp;</strong>homicides last year,&nbsp;<strong>441</strong>&nbsp;of them inflicted by guns. And while gun crimes and homicides have become almost synonymous in Chicago, the&nbsp;number of <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2013-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=7">deaths</a> often masks the city&#39;s overall problem.&nbsp;</p><p>According to police data,&nbsp;the number of shootings&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-shootings/24f8-4jii">totaled&nbsp;<strong>1,887</strong>&nbsp;last year</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The data also show assaults with guns &ndash; when a person is threatened with a weapon but not shot &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Assaults-with-guns-in-2012/sq6s-sdyy">totaled&nbsp;<strong>2,077</strong></a>&nbsp;last year.&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Chicago-Robberies-for-2012/nbaj-2wmy">Armed robberies</a> alone topped&nbsp;<strong>5,389</strong>. There were&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Sexual-Assaults-for-2012/4ji5-jzpn"><strong>1,334&nbsp;</strong>sexual assaults</a>, <strong>101&nbsp;</strong>of which were committed at gunpoint.</p><p>Where does unlawful possession or use of a gun fall under? Well, the city keeps tabs on weapons violations &ndash; arrests for using guns or other firearms unlawfully and/or&nbsp;possessing a banned weapon. That total rounded to&nbsp;<strong><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-Weapons-violations/jzkm-qabk">2,929</a>&nbsp;</strong>reported incidents.</p><p>As the City Council grapples with how to address assault weapons in a post-Newtown political setting, the legislation still doesn&#39;t seem to address Chicago&#39;s overall gun violence problem, or the issues that contribute&nbsp;to it &ndash; education, high unemployment and stagnant economic mobility.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department has repeatedly made the case that overall crime has been declining historically, which is true, but some of that decline can be attributed to the overall drop in the city&#39;s population the past two decades. Regardless, shootings in Chicago dropped from a 2001 high of<strong> 4,176</strong> aggravated batteries with a gun/firearm to<strong> 1,887</strong> last year.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s crime data does distinguish handguns from other firearms, but it doesn&#39;t specify whether the &quot;other firearm&quot; involved was an M16 assault rifle or, say, a hunting rifle.</p><p>Of the city&#39;s 5,389 armed robberies, only 98 of them were with a firearm not classified as a handgun. All of the city&#39;s sexual assaults at gun point were done with a handgun.</p><p>While automatic and assault rifles have been the focus of federal legislative efforts, Chicago largely has a handgun problem. And that handgun problem goes well&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2013-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=7">beyond the homicide numbers</a>. &nbsp;</p><p>Last year&#39;s homicides totaled 516, with <strong>441 </strong>of those resulting in a death by gunshot. There were still <strong>11,886</strong> gun related crimes in Chicago that didn&#39;t end in a homicide.</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">&mdash;Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEl" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">@ChicagoEl</a>&nbsp;email:<a href="mailto:eramos@wbez.org" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">eramos@wbez.org</a>.</em></p><p><strong><a name="map"></a>Gun Crimes in Chicago</strong><br /><em>The map below shows crimes in Chicago that involved guns. The homicide data was created and cleaned up by <a href="http://homicides.redeyechicago.com/">Tracy Swartz of the Chicago RedEye</a>. Obtaining homicide data often involves combining Chicago Police and Cook County Medical Examiner data to obtain location and cause of death. Such a data set is not released by the CPD or city via the public data portal and must be obtained&nbsp;</em>separately&nbsp;<em>and cleaned up manually. Sortable map template available via <a href="http://derekeder.com/searchable_map_template/">Derek Eder of Open City</a>.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="1350" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/gun-crimes/" width="960"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/data-behind-chicagos-gun-crimes-108092