WBEZ | Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel budget avoids pension woes http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-budget-avoids-pension-woes-110944 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP580286472422.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-f04d8a28-15c2-c46d-badf-148104888658">Just months before facing voters at the polls, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday unveiled a 2015 budget plan that boosts popular city services and closes an estimated $297 million spending gap with a menu of revenue increases.</p><p>But the $8.9 billion spending blueprint does not address what is arguably the city&rsquo;s most pressing financial challenge: a $550 million balloon payment to the city&rsquo;s drastically underfunded police and fire pension funds, due in 2016.</p><p>Instead, Emanuel spent much of his election season budget address to the City Council highlighting his past accomplishments, rather than getting into the details of his spending proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;We are making real progress, but we still have a long way to go,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;For the fourth year in a row, we will balance our budget and hold the line on property, sales and gas taxes.&rdquo;</p><p>But Emanuel&rsquo;s proposal does close the projected deficit, in part, with $54.4 million from what his administration calls &ldquo;closing tax loopholes and revenue enhancements.&rdquo;</p><p>That includes $10 million in new money from an increase of the tax levied on paid parking garages; $4.4 million by cutting a tax exemption for people who who rent skyboxes at Chicago sports venues; $12 million by eliminating a tax break for cable TV companies, effectively raising their tax burden; $15 million by increasing the lease tax on cars and office equipment; and $17 million by cracking down on companies who rent office space in other towns to avoid paying city sales and use taxes.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s bean counters are also relying heavily on an improving economy to help balance the books. They&rsquo;re estimating a $75.4 million take from growth in the number of building permits and inspections as the construction industry improves, and from a big boost in revenues tied to consumer behavior, such as the sales tax.</p><p>City Hall is also expecting to find nearly $81 million next year through various cuts and belt-tightening measures, but an Emanuel spokeswoman says there will be no city worker layoffs. Another $60.5 million comes from &ldquo;improved fiscal management,&rdquo; including declaring a surplus in some of the city&rsquo;s tax increment financing districts, and $26.1 million comes from cracking down on people who owe back city fines and fees.</p><p>But ahead of the Feb. 24 city elections, Emanuel&rsquo;s spending proposal does not neglect the city services that have long been the currency of Chicago politics. The mayor wants to double the number of pothole crews that repair pock-marked city streets, and boost spending for graffiti blasting, tree-trimming and rat-baiting. He also wants to increase funding for youth summer jobs, early education and after school programs.</p><p>Emanuel made only passing mention of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329" target="_blank">city&rsquo;s $20 billion public worker pension crisis</a>, leaving open the possibility that voters won&rsquo;t know the mayor&rsquo;s plan until after the Feb. 24 city elections.</p><p>After decades of shorting its pensions, City Hall will finally have to bring its pension payments up to speed in 2016 with an estimated $550 million spike in its state-mandated contributions for police and firefighters&rsquo; retirement funds. Emanuel has already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306" target="_blank">brokered an overhaul</a> of the pensions for city laborers and municipal workers, but he still hasn&rsquo;t revealed how he plans to deal with the public safety pension problem.</p><p>&ldquo;Unfortunately, due to difficult economic times and decades of deferral, we still have a lot of work to do,&rdquo; Emanuel said Wednesday. &ldquo;But by everyone giving a little, no one has to give everything.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel initially proposed a property tax hike to pay for the higher contributions to the laborers&rsquo; and municipal workers&rsquo; pensions. But facing political pushback, he struck a deal with Gov. Pat Quinn to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/chicagoans-could-help-close-city-pension-deficit-through-increased-phone-tax-110407" target="_blank">raise the city&rsquo;s telephone taxes</a>, buying him a year before he&rsquo;d have to turn to even more unpopular tax hikes.</p><p>City Council budget hearings are set to begin Monday, and aldermen must approve a 2015 budget by the end of the year.</p></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-budget-avoids-pension-woes-110944 Emanuel ribs Clinton over 'dead broke' comment at book tour stop http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-ribs-clinton-over-dead-broke-comment-book-tour-stop-110328 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Hillary Rahm WBEZ Alex Keefe.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In an hourlong talk that touched on foreign policy, economics and her Chicagoland upbringing, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday still did not answer the question that has generated political speculation for months: Will she run for president in 2016?</p><p>Clinton sat down to be interviewed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for her first public appearance on a nationwide tour to plug her new book, Hard Choices. Emanuel, who had served as a top adviser to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and was the White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama while Clinton was secretary of state, mostly stuck to softball questions.</p><p>But he ribbed Clinton about a controversial comment she made in a recent <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-defends-high-dollar-speaking-fees/story?id=24052962" target="_blank">ABC News interview</a>, when she said she and her family were &ldquo;dead broke&rdquo; when they left the White House.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;Dead broke?&rsquo; Really?&rdquo; Emanuel asked.</p><p>&ldquo;Well that may have not been the most artful way of saying that,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;You know, Bill and I have gone through a lot of different phases in our lives. That was then, this is now. And obviously we are very fortunate.&rdquo;</p><p>Some Republicans pounced on that remark to portray Clinton, who is giving big-dollar speeches across the country, as out of touch.</p><p>She also reminisced about her time growing up in Northwest suburban Park Ridge, and visiting her father&rsquo;s downtown Chicago office at the Merchandise Mart; where, she said, she was cautioned about sticking her head too far out the window on hot days, lest a &ldquo;giant dragon&rdquo; that lived in the Chicago River snatch her up.</p><p>But the former top U.S. diplomat was not afraid to stick her neck out when it came to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton said some world leaders wouldn&rsquo;t be happy to read the anecdotes in her new book, then added, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m talking to you, Vladimir.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton later lambasted Putin for passing a law, criticized as being anti-gay, that makes it a crime to distribute &ldquo;propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations&rdquo; to children.</p><p>&ldquo;What Putin&rsquo;s doing in Russia, with all these laws against the LGBT community, that is just a cynical political ploy,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had shouting matches with top Russian officials about this.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton also addressed Tuesday&rsquo;s surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House, suggesting Cantor lost to a more conservative candidate &ldquo;who basically ran against immigrants,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;The answer is not to throw out of work and deport the 11 million immigrants who are contributing already to our economy,&rdquo; Clinton said. &ldquo;The answer is to grow our economy to create more jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>Clinton did not address whether she would make a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, as is widely speculated. But she did focus on what she said were the qualities of a good leader: &ldquo;skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros,&rdquo; and the ability to &ldquo;make sausage&rdquo; in a political environment where compromise is sometimes a dirty word.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve always managed to do that,&rdquo; as a country, Clinton said, pointing to the constitutional amendment that ended slavery in 1865. &ldquo;Look, did it take, you know, maybe giving some people some post office jobs? It might have. But it ended slavery! That&rsquo;s a pretty good trade-off when you stop to think about it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-629defdb-8cc4-433e-f07f-0aa043926bdd"><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-ribs-clinton-over-dead-broke-comment-book-tour-stop-110328 Ferguson to stay on as City Hall watchdog http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-stay-city-hall-watchdog-110291 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/joe_ferguson_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It looks like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be stuck with City Hall&rsquo;s corruption-fighting inspector general for longer than he anticipated.</p><p>Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson said Wednesday he will stay in his job beyond the end-of-summer departure date he discussed with the mayor last year.</p><p>&ldquo;Right now, there&rsquo;s work to do and I think there&rsquo;s a general sense that the office of Inspector General is doing a pretty good job of advancing it, so we keep on keepin&rsquo; on,&rdquo; Ferguson told WBEZ Wednesday.</p><p>News that Ferguson will stay on as the city government watchdog comes weeks after the City Hall finally <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-seeks-end-federal-hiring-oversight-110188">struck an agreement</a> to emerge from years of federal hiring oversight. With the end of monitoring under the so-called &ldquo;Shakman decrees&rdquo; - which aim to stomp out political patronage - the role of hiring oversight will now shift to Ferguson&rsquo;s office</p><p>The inspector general has had a frosty relationship with Emanuel&rsquo;s administration at times, which initially cast doubt on whether the mayor would reappoint Ferguson to the job. Emanuel initially wanted to make Ferguson reapply for his post, but the mayor reversed course and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-disagreements-emanuel-reappoint-city-hall-watchdog-108590">reappointed </a>him last year, following complaints from some aldermen.</p><p>In a statement released by the mayor&rsquo;s office announcing the reappointment in September 2013, Ferguson was quoted as saying he would &ldquo;move on to other things&rdquo; by the end of this summer, after the city emerged from the federal hiring oversight.</p><p>But on Wednesday, Ferguson told WBEZ he now plans to stay on longer than that. Under city ordinance, Ferguson is free to fill out the rest of his four-year term, though he declined to say whether he would.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna answer the question by telling you I&rsquo;m not gonna answer the question, and I&rsquo;m not gonna answer the question because that&rsquo;s just not how I look at things,&rdquo; Ferguson said. He continues to take a day-by-day approach to his job because &ldquo;any other approach puts me and the office at risk of taking our eye off the ball.&rdquo;</p><p>In an interview Wednesday night with WTTW&rsquo;s &ldquo;Chicago Tonight,&rdquo; Emanuel said Ferguson was key in helping City Hall reach an agreement to end court hiring oversight under the Shakman case, but said he asked the inspector to stay on the job to help during the transition.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, we have a very good working relationship,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Joe has been a partner, his office has been a partner, every report he has - he issues, we don&rsquo;t let it sit on the shelf and gather dust.&rdquo;</p><p>A federal judge must still give final approval to end the court hiring oversight, which could happen at a hearing on June 16.</p><p>Ferguson credited the Emanuel administration for making strides in coming out from under the Shakman heel, which has cost the city millions of dollars over the years. But he said there&rsquo;s still work to be done in order to come into &ldquo;full compliance&rdquo; with the court orders, particularly with police and fire departments.</p><p>The inspector general&rsquo;s office is also looking into whether police followed the proper protocol when they investigated the 2004 case of <a href="http://projects.suntimes.com/koschman/latest-news/vanecko-koschman-mom-in-court-for-hearing/">David Koschman</a>, who died after being punched by R.J. Vanecko, a nephew of long-time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Vanecko was charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty only years after the assault, following an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times.</p><p>Additionally, Ferguson said his office is still working on implementing the city&rsquo;s new <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/ethics/supp_info/governmental_ethicsordinance.html">ethics ordinance</a>, as well as other investigations he wouldn&rsquo;t disclose.</p><p>&ldquo;One thing I do know, there&rsquo;s four years&rsquo; worth of work out there to do,&rdquo; Ferguson said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s probably a lifetime of work out there to do. And right now, my intention is to keep on doing it.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-stay-city-hall-watchdog-110291 Mayor Emanuel's proposal to reduce gun violence stalls in Springfield http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-proposal-reduce-gun-violence-stalls-springfield-110200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP758722197507_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed state law intended to help reduce gun violence in Chicago is being shelved in Springfield in favor of forming a new committee to investigate the issue.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy have prioritized longer prison sentences for gun crimes as a way to reduce the city&rsquo;s gun violence. The bill had called for increasing the mandatory prison sentence for unlawful use of a weapon to a minimum of three years in prison.</p><p>That measure saw some strong opposition from Illinois lawmakers who said it would add inmates to an already overcrowded prison system.</p><p>State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, wanted the longer prison sentences, but now says he&rsquo;s open to new compromises on several proposals to restructure sentencing guidelines. He referenced recent shootings in Chicago over the weekend as the reason he still&nbsp; supports the measure for mandatory prison sentences.</p><p>&ldquo;My guess is that many of those were committed by those who have no fear of our gun laws,&rdquo; Zalewski said. &ldquo;I tried to start the conversation with my bills earlier this year, but the conversations moved into a new direction and so I&rsquo;m hopeful that all that will come into play.&rdquo;</p><p>Zalewski is scheduled to ask a committee of House members Tuesday to create a small panel of Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate. That panel would lead discussions over the course of the year to negotiate sentencing guidelines.</p><p>&ldquo;If we can put a strategy in place that makes sure that the violent gun offenders are incarcerated and that (Supt. McCarthy) doesn&rsquo;t see them back out on the street in six months or four months or get a sentence like boot camp where they&rsquo;re back out in ten weeks, it makes his job a whole lot easier,&ldquo; Zalewski said.</p><p>Spokesmen for the mayor&rsquo;s office and the Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 May 2014 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-proposal-reduce-gun-violence-stalls-springfield-110200 Emanuel skeptical of teachers union pension plan http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-skeptical-teachers-union-pension-plan-110148 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Rahm-crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration is swatting down key aspects of the Chicago Teachers Union&rsquo;s proposal to shore up the ailing pension fund for city teachers.</p><p>On Tuesday, Emanuel suggested a proposed tax on financial transactions would hurt the big Chicago-based financial exchanges like the Chicago Board Options exchange and CME Group, which owns the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges. The Chicago Teachers union is pushing what it calls a &ldquo;LaSalle Street tax&rdquo; on futures and derivatives trades. CTU estimates it could reap $10 billion to $12 billion a year.</p><p>But Emanuel seemed to dismiss that idea when asked about it Tuesday.</p><p>&ldquo;Years ago, people referred to &lsquo;Lasalle Street&rsquo; because it was a financial center, and Chicago had a lotta banks that were...Chicago-based. There&rsquo;s only one left. They&rsquo;re all gone.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel also suggested a financial transaction tax might hurt the city&rsquo;s thriving futures and options industry.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s a place where Chicago&rsquo;s still, economically, a dominant player,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;And there&rsquo;s more competition.&rdquo;</p><p>The transaction tax was just one part of the Chicago Teachers Union&rsquo;s pension plan, first reported last week by WBEZ. The union wants to borrow $5 billion to help shore up the underfunded Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Right now, the fund only has about half the money it would need to pay out in future benefits, for about $9 billion in projected future pension debt.</p><p>The union&rsquo;s plan would pay for the borrowing with several new streams of revenue. In addition to the transaction tax, the teachers would also impose a &ldquo;commuter tax&rdquo; on people who work in the city but live elsewhere. Union officials also propose extending the life of the city&rsquo;s tax increment financing districts, or TIFs, which divert tax money into economic development projects. The union would use the extra money generated during the life of the TIFs to pay for their proposed borrowing.</p><p>But Emanuel&rsquo;s administration is giving those ideas a chilly reception, raising questions about whether the two sides can reach any sort of compromise on pensions before next year. In 2015, Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; state-mandated payment into its teachers pension fund will jump to $613 million - a roughly $400 million spike - after three years of making reduced payments into the fund.</p><p>Emanuel didn&rsquo;t directly address the question of a tax on commuters, but mayoral spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said City Hall doesn&rsquo;t have the authority to levy such a tax.</p><p>&ldquo;It would be unconstitutional under the Federal constitution for commuters living out of state, such as Indiana and Wisconsin,&rdquo; Quinn said via email. &ldquo;It would also be unconstitutional under the Illinois constitution as to Illinois commuters.&rdquo;</p><p>Additionally, Emanuel said a financial transaction tax would first require approval from both state lawmakers and federal regulators.</p><p>Emanuel has said repeatedly that he wants pension negotiations to focus on &ldquo;reform before revenue,&rdquo; which some critics have interpreted as referring to the<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fmayor-emanuel%25E2%2580%2599s-pension-plan-headed-governor-109989&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEkaheRa-XzrnvOzy_rLdgFgfy0EA"> type of benefit cuts the mayor</a> has pushed for the city&rsquo;s laborers and municipal workers. But Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, a vociferous adversary of Emanuel&rsquo;s, has said tackling benefit changes first without new revenue streams in place would be like &ldquo;cutting our own throats.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fusers%2Fakeefe&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHCooL3ruU-DUyQdnHprdBP25WItg">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZpolitics&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE7HeV8c3K0gV2LF_GODmIGo6nkkg">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 May 2014 15:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-skeptical-teachers-union-pension-plan-110148 Chicago aldermen crack down on plastic bags, pedicabs http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-crack-down-plastic-bags-pedicabs-110113 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Plastic bag FILE - AP_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Grocery shoppers and pedicab drivers alike will feel the effects of tougher regulations approved Wednesday by Chicago&rsquo;s City Council.</p><p>Aldermen, by a vote of 36 to 10, gave final approval to a partial ban on plastic carryout bags. Several aldermen abstained.</p><p>The partial ban, championed for years by 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno, had been pitched as an environmentally friendly measure meant to reduce the number of bags stuck in trees and snagged on chain link fences.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t be a &lsquo;City in the Garden&rsquo; and have a set of policies that actually hurt the environment,&rdquo; said Mayor Rahm Emanuel after Wednesday&rsquo;s vote, echoing Chicago&rsquo;s city motto.</p><p>Under the new law, both franchise retailers and groups of three or more chain stores will no longer be allowed to hand out plastic bags to customers. Retailers must also provide or sell recyclable paper bags, reusable bags or compostable plastic bags as an alternative.</p><p>In response to concerns from some aldermen and business groups, the ordinance exempts owners of independent shops from having to ditch their plastic bags. All restaurants are also exempt.</p><p>Moreno had originally pushed for an outright ban on plastic bags, and he has said he hopes to tighten restrictions further once a partial ban is in place. Some business groups, including the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, bemoaned the ban, saying paper bags cost three times as much as plastic ones.</p><p>The Washington, D.C.-based American Progressive Bag Alliance lobbied against the ordinance, saying it would cost plastic bag manufacturing jobs in Chicago.</p><p>Fifth Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston said she was voting against the bag ban because she worries it will increase costs for grocers, arming them with a new excuse not to open shop in her South Shore neighborhood, which already suffers from a dearth of grocery stores.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m watching my community go to hell in a handbasket while rich communities debate plastic bags,&rdquo; Hairston said during Wednesday&rsquo;s debate.</p><p>&ldquo;Why would I support an ordinance that limits the food choices I get to make based on the type of bag I get to use?&rdquo; Hairston said. &ldquo;Right now, the type of bag I use really doesn&rsquo;t matter because I can&rsquo;t buy groceries to put them in. If I voted for this ordinance, where would I bring my bags to shop in my community?&rdquo;</p><p>Big chain stores - larger than 10,000 square feet - have until August 2015 get rid of their plastic bags. Stores smaller than that have until August 2016.</p><p><strong>Chicago&rsquo;s first pedicab regulations</strong></p><p>Also on Wednesday, aldermen approved the city&rsquo;s first-ever regulations on so-called &ldquo;pedicabs.&rdquo;</p><p>The new restrictions come just in time for warmer spring weather, when the tricycle rickshaw taxis can be seen ferrying passengers to and from baseball games and downtown tourist hotspots.</p><p>After years of operating in a <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fno-rules-road-chicago%25E2%2580%2599s-pedicabs-thrive-106557&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFsBfWvdKL2fvg5iDZx9d_j4alTbw">legal grey area</a>, the new ordinance imposes restrictions on how, where and when pedicab operators can peddle their trade. It requires operators to get a city-issued $250 license for each pedicab, and drivers to get a $25 &ldquo;chauffeur&rdquo; license. Pedicab owners must also buy insurance and they post fare their schedules.</p><p>Some in Chicago&rsquo;s pedicab industry have lauded the move toward some regulations. But other restrictions have drawn protests from pedicab drivers who worry their industry will take a hit.</p><p>The ordinance caps the number of pedicab licenses at 200 citywide. In an effort to cut down on congestion, it also bans all pedicabs from riding through part of the Loop during rush hour. They also would be banned entirely from riding on Michigan Avenue and State Street, between Congress Parkway and Oak Street.</p><p>&ldquo;Ninety percent of my time is spent down here in the restricted [area],&rdquo; said operator Antonio Bustamante, who said he spends 50 to 60 hours a week operating one of the two pedicabs he owns. Bustamante and a handful of other drivers parked their pedicabs on the sidewalk along LaSalle Street outside City Hall after Wednesday&#39;s vote, protesting what they see as an unfair restriction on their industry.</p><p>&ldquo;I need to look for another job,&rdquo; Bustamante said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll have to sell both of my cabs and move on to something else, which is ridiculous. It&rsquo;s very upsetting that this is where we are.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Pet coke ban in place, but Southeast residents aren&rsquo;t exactly cheering</strong></p><p>The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance today that places stricter restrictions on the storage of a product known as pet coke.</p><p>Pet coke is stored in large quantities on Chicago&rsquo;s Southeast side where it arrives by the train load from the nearby BP Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.</p><p>Since last summer, residents have pushed loudly for an all out ban, believing it makes them ill when it becomes airborne.</p><p>It appeared that the mayor and others agreed but political support for a ban waned in recent months. 10th Ward Alderman John Pope says a ban isn&rsquo;t legal.<br /><br />&ldquo;Obviously, there&rsquo;s concerns and desires from pretty much everyone to have a ban but legally that&rsquo;s almost impossible,&rdquo; Pope said. &ldquo;So, the next best recourse is I think what we&rsquo;re doing: Making any new uses impossible and limiting to the three existing operators. It does a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>The largest handler of pet coke, KCBX Terminals Inc., which is owned by the wealthy Koch Brothers,, says its already invested millions in a dust-suppression system so the pet coke doesn&rsquo;t blow away.</p><p>Residents worry that the new law only regulates the storage of pet coke and may invite companies who want to use the product for other uses, such as converting pet coke, considered an energy source, into diesel fuel. Residents, working with national environmental groups, say will continue to push for an all-out ban.</p><p>&ldquo;It is thoroughly unacceptable for these piles to sit just a few hundred yards from people&rsquo;s houses,&rdquo; said Southeast Environmental Task Force executive director Peggy Salazar said in a statement. &ldquo;People are complaining about finding dust from these sites inside their homes. Black dust is coating their houses and probably their lungs. This has to stop.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Henry Henderson, Midwest Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the City Council is moving in the right direction but more needs to be done.</p><p>&ldquo;The City is to be commended for attacking the petcoke problem, but a lot more has to be done before Chicagoans who live near sites where petroleum coke and coal have been mounded by their homes, schools and parks can feel safe,&rdquo; Henderson said in a statement. &ldquo;The Mayor has been very public in his desire to push this dirty stuff out of Chicago. Given the City&rsquo;s multi-pronged approach today&rsquo;s vote is a step forward, but we need ongoing, concerted effort and enforcement to achieve Emanuel&rsquo;s goal.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Deferral of rideshare vote</strong></p><p>Council members deferred a vote on a set of regulations for controversial ridesharing services until Springfield legislators have a chance to consider state rules for the new industry. Alderman John Arena (45th) asked to &ldquo;defer and publish&rdquo; the <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fmorningshiftwbez%2Frideshare-ordinance-passes%3Futm_source%3Dsoundcloud%26utm_campaign%3Dshare%26utm_medium%3Dfacebook&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNF3255bBLHeonjfuX7UqqFrXfN5tg">mayor&rsquo;s proposed ordinance</a>, with the backing of Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Roderick Sawyer (6th). The parliamentary move requires the support of only two aldermen.</p><p>&ldquo;This was clearly an effort to protect taxi owners from competition and preserve the existing taxi monopoly,&rdquo; said Uber Midwest Regional Director Andrew MacDonald, in a statement released to the media. Uber and Lyft, the two largest ridesharing services in Chicago, favored the proposed regulations. The companies provide smartphone applications to help people use their personal cars for hire.</p><p>Scores of Chicago cab drivers gathered in the lobby outside Council Chambers, and let out a big cheer immediately following the deferral. But they still remained uncertain of what city council might do when they reconsider the issue. The drivers also remain concerned about how ridesharing services have cut into their industry.</p><p>&ldquo;Can they still operate as they have been in the past and make money (and) interfere with our money?&rdquo; asked one driver, who floated the idea of a taxi driver strike. Organizers from the American Federation of State, County &amp; Municipal Employees told them they would do better to focus their efforts on organizing and lobbying aldermen.</p><p>State legislators are expected to consider a <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fillinois-house-moves-rein-ridesharing-110011&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNExxaXHMc-BPpJ5R6hPiTbjx9cmiQ">much stricter set of standards</a> in the Senate for the ridesharing industry in May.</p><p><em>Alex Keefe is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZpolitics&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE7HeV8c3K0gV2LF_GODmIGo6nkkg">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p><p><em>Michael Puente contributed to this report. You can follow him on Twitter @<a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p><p><em>Odette Yousef contributed to this report. You can follow her at <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Foyousef&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHKQ6bayggMubwgs9U53FsOML-b9A">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZoutloud&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGciFiqidUKx7xm655BDbaPU9eB3g">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 16:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-aldermen-crack-down-plastic-bags-pedicabs-110113 Feds seek arrest of former Emanuel aide http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-seek-arrest-former-emanuel-aide-110076 <p><p>Federal marshals in Ohio issued an arrest warrant on Friday to a former top financial aide to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>The U.S. Marshal&rsquo;s service issued the warrant for ex-city comptroller Amer Ahmad Friday morning, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Andrew Shadwick. In December, Ahmad pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and bribery charges stemming from his time as Deputy Treasurer for the State of Ohio.</p><p>The feds want to arrest Ahmad for violating the terms of his bail, Shadwick said, but he would not release further details. Ohio Federal Judge Michael H. Watson ruled Friday that he would not unseal the contents of the arrest warrant.</p><p>Ahmad&rsquo;s lawyer, Karl Schneider, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Following his guilty plea in late December, Ahmad and his family had continued living in Chicago.</p><p>Prosecutors say Ahmad abused his position in Ohio state government to steer lucrative state investment contracts to a former high school classmate who had gone on to work as a securities broker. As part of the scheme, the government says the broker, Douglas E. Hampton, funneled more than $500,000 to Ahmad and some co-conspirators via phony loans and a landscaping company that Ahmad partly controlled.</p><p>Ahmad has not been charged with any wrongdoing relating to his tenure as Chicago&rsquo;s comptroller, from May of 2011 to July of 2013.</p><p>Ahmad has not yet been sentenced, but could face up to 15 years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, he&rsquo;s agreed to pay more than $3.2 million in restitution.</p><p>A spokeswoman for Emanuel, Sarah Hamilton, declined to comment on news of warrant. The Chicago Police Department did not have an immediate comment Friday morning.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fusers%2Fakeefe&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHCooL3ruU-DUyQdnHprdBP25WItg">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZpolitics&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE7HeV8c3K0gV2LF_GODmIGo6nkkg">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-seek-arrest-former-emanuel-aide-110076 City Council panel passes plastic bag ban http://www.wbez.org/news/city-council-panel-passes-plastic-bag-ban-110070 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Plastic bag FILE - AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Big grocery stores and franchise retailers would be barred from giving out plastic bags to customers under a proposal approved Thursday by a Chicago City Council committee.</p><p>After months of negotiations and eventual buy-in from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City Council&rsquo;s Health and Environment Committee approved a scaled-back version of the plastic bag ban that has long been pushed by 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We use three billion - billion with a &lsquo;b&rsquo; - of these [bags] every year,&rdquo; Moreno said. &ldquo;And, um, it&rsquo;s the old economy. These bags are terrible for the environment, terrible for our litter, and there&rsquo;s a better way and we&rsquo;re moving forward on that.&rdquo;</p><p>The ordinance still needs approval from the full City Council, which could happen as soon as next week.</p><p>The compromise ordinance would prohibit both franchise retailers and groups of &ldquo;chain&rdquo; stores - defined as three or more stores with the same owner - from distributing plastic carryout bags to customers. The stores would also be required to provide or sell recyclable paper bags, reusable bags or compostable plastic bags as an alternative.</p><p>The latest version of the plastic bag ban would not apply to independently-owned stores or restaurants, following concerns from some aldermen and industry groups that an outright prohibition would hurt mom-and-pop businesses who choose cheap plastic bags over more expensive types.</p><p>Stores that continue to distribute the banned bags would face fines of up to $500. Moreno is trying to sell the proposed ban as an environmentally friendly measure.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s our role, whether it&rsquo;s DDT or other chemicals, or coal-fired power plants [or] plastic bags made from natural gas - when the industry&rsquo;s not ready to move into...our century, then we have to act,&rdquo; Moreno said.</p><p>But some industry and business groups aren&rsquo;t buying it.</p><p>Supporters of the ban are overstating plastic bags&rsquo; detrimental environmental effects, charges Jonathan Perman, a spokesman for the <a href="http://plasticsindustry.org/apba/" target="_blank">American Progressive Bag Alliance</a>, a Washington, D.C.-based plastic bag lobbying group. He points to a <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/doe/general/RecyclingAndWasteMgmt_PDFs/WasteAndDiversionStudy/WasteCharacterizationReport.pdf" target="_blank">2010 City Hall study</a> that found &ldquo;grocery and merchandise bags&rdquo; accounted for less than one percent of the trash tonnage produced by Chicagoans.</p><p>Perman&rsquo;s group estimates there are about 3,000 jobs tied to the plastic bag manufacturing industry in Illinois. He said a ban would hurt business.</p><p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;re doing in Chicago is we&rsquo;re making an absolutely absurd trade by saying we&rsquo;re gonna ban a product that&rsquo;s made in Chicago, and instead encourage people to use a synthetic or cloth or cotton bag that&rsquo;s imported from Asia,&rdquo; Perman said Thursday.</p><p>If approved by the full City Council next week, large stores over 10,000 square feet would be forced to stop handing out plastic bags by August 2015. Chain stores smaller than that would have an additional year to ditch the bags.</p></p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-council-panel-passes-plastic-bag-ban-110070 Madigan drops property tax mandate in pension bill http://www.wbez.org/news/madigan-drops-property-tax-mandate-pension-bill-109983 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Pat-Quinn-AP-Seth-Perlman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is removing a controversial provision from a Chicago pension bill that would have required the City Council to raise property taxes in order ease the city&rsquo;s nearly $20 billion pension crisis.</p><p>The move to strip the property-tax language in the bill came late Monday, just a few hours after Gov. Pat Quinn signalled he would not back a proposed property tax hike that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing in order to bolster the ailing pension funds for Chicago laborers and municipal workers.</p><p>&ldquo;Working with legislative leaders, bill sponsors, the Governor, and our partners in labor, we have addressed their concerns and can now move forward to save the retirements of nearly 60,000 city workers and retirees in Chicago,&rdquo; Emanuel was quoted as saying in an emailed statement late Monday afternoon.</p><p>But the removal of the property tax language doesn&rsquo;t mean Emanuel&rsquo;s tax hike proposal is going away. That plan, which would bring the city $750 million in revenue over the next five years, still seems to be central to the mayor&rsquo;s plan to pump more money into the city&rsquo;s pensions.</p><p>The difference is that state legislators, who must approve changes to Illinois pension law, don&rsquo;t have to worry about being blamed for raising Chicago property taxes during an election year. The bill&rsquo;s original language mandated that the City Council raise property taxes to pay for pensions. The latest version allows the city to use &ldquo;any available funds&rdquo; to make its annual payments.</p><p>Speaking at an event Monday morning, Emanuel said he is not trying to hang a potential property tax hike around legislators&rsquo; necks.</p><p>&ldquo;It was never anybody&rsquo;s intention to have Springfield deal with that,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s our responsibility. But I do believe to actually give the 61,000 retirees and workers the certainty they deserve, you need reform and revenue. And we&rsquo;ll deal with our responsibility.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel said he will continue to &ldquo;address people&rsquo;s concerns&rdquo; about the pension plan, though he would not speak directly to its fate in the City Council, which would also need to approve any property tax hike.</p><p>To placate public worker unions who had wanted a dedicated revenue stream, Madigan&rsquo;s changes also beef up the penalties if City Hall wriggles out of paying its pension contributions. The bill directs Illinois&rsquo; Comptroller to cut off state funding to the city indefinitely if it doesn&rsquo;t pay its pension tab, and it gives pension funds the right to sue City Hall in order to get their money.</p><p>The new bill would also guarantee that retirees who make $22,000 or less in annual benefits would get a cost-of-living increase of at least 1 percent each year. Prior proposals set the annual increases at the lesser of 3 percent or half the rate of inflation. Right now, city laborers and municipal workers get a guaranteed annual benefit increase of 3 percent, which builds on the previous years&rsquo; increases.</p><p>The changes to the mayor&rsquo;s proposed pension fix came just hours after Gov. Pat Quinn slammed Emanuel&rsquo;s proposed property tax hike.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve gotta come up with a much better comprehensive approach to deal with this issue,&rdquo; Quinn said at an unrelated press conference. &ldquo;But if they think they&rsquo;re just gonna gouge property taxpayers, no can do. We&rsquo;re not gonna go that way.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn, a populist Democrat who is seeking re-election in November, has made property tax relief central to his 2015 state budget proposal. And while he shot down Emanuel&rsquo;s proposed property tax hike, the governor did not offer an alternative source of revenue for Chicago pensions.</p><p>&ldquo;I think they need to be a whole lot more creative than I&rsquo;ve seen so far,&rdquo; Quinn said.</p><p>State legislators could consider the new amendment as soon as Tuesday.</p></p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 15:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/madigan-drops-property-tax-mandate-pension-bill-109983 Quinn quiet on mayor’s pension plan, questions property tax hikes http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-quiet-mayor%E2%80%99s-pension-plan-questions-property-tax-hikes-109966 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Quinn - AP Seth Perlman.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is raising questions about whether he would support a plan to bolster Chicago&rsquo;s underfunded public pensions by raising property taxes, telling reporters today that property taxes are already &ldquo;overburdening&rdquo; state residents.</p><p>State lawmakers are now debating <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Femanuel-pension-deal-would-raise-property-taxes-trim-benefits-109948&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHVMds9AwIwUN5U23ljh0rlrgfAPg">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s plan</a> to prop up city&rsquo;s pension funds for laborers and municipal workers. Central to that is a proposal to raise property taxes by $50 million each year for five years, which would ultimately net the city $750 million. The mayor also is calling for city workers to chip in more money toward their retirement benefits, and he wants to scale back the rate at which those benefits grow each year.</p><p>But Emanuel&rsquo;s blueprint, which he said would solve about half of Chicago&rsquo;s nearly $20 billion public pension crisis, first needs approval from the state legislature and the governor, because all Illinois pensions are governed by state law.</p><p>Quinn on Thursday would not say whether he would sign the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilga.gov%2Flegislation%2Fbillstatus.asp%3FDocNum%3D1922%26GAID%3D12%26GA%3D98%26DocTypeID%3DSB%26LegID%3D73354%26SessionID%3D85&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHCEIli0kRUcM8Np1l1LxGkpZmWDg">Chicago pension bill</a> if it landed on his desk.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what that bill is, frankly,&rdquo; Quinn told reporters in Chicago. &ldquo;I think it has all kinds of different descriptions. They&rsquo;re, I guess, looking at it in Springfield. When they have something put together we&rsquo;ll look at it. But I wanna make it clear: I believe in reducing the burden of property taxes in our state.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn would not detail any specific concerns he had with Emanuel&rsquo;s pension plan. But he returned repeatedly to the talking points he has been using to push his own 2015 state budget proposal. &ldquo;The bottom line in our state is we have to reduce our reliance on property taxes and we have to invest in education,&rdquo; Quinn said.</p><p>The governor&rsquo;s 2015 budget would make permanent a <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fstory%2Fincome-tax%2Ftemporary-tax-hikes-dont-always-stay-way&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHDXygwYKimhgniQZB0Efijo86f_Q">income tax hike</a> enacted in 2011, while guaranteeing all Illinois homeowners a $500 property tax refund. The governor is hoping that will allow municipalities around the state, boosted by trickle-down state income tax revenue, to lower local property taxes, which Quinn thinks disproportionately favor wealthy areas.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s Springfield allies put his plan into legislative form on Tuesday, shortly after he outlined it for reporters. The bill passed a key House pension committee on Wednesday, but is still awaiting a debate before the full House.</p><p>The State Senate, meanwhile, adjourned for the week on Thursday without taking up the plan.</p><p>The blueprint Emanuel outlined earlier this week aims to pump more money into the two pension funds for more than 56,000 city workers -- one for city laborers and the other for municipal workers, including administrators and skilled tradesmen.</p><p>By 2020, Emanuel&rsquo;s plan would finally do away with the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fexperts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGzLcw0b8YPzM-h-NQSYombAlYX5g">archaic math</a> the city has been using for decades to calculate how much money to chip into its workers&rsquo; retirements. Experts say that is a primary reason the pension funds have been shorted for decades, leading to their current dire shape. Instead, the proposal in Springfield would slowly ramp up contributions from the city, before switching over to a self-adjusting funding formula.</p><p>If the city tries to skimp on payments -- or skip them altogether -- <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilga.gov%2Flegislation%2Ffulltext.asp%3FDocName%3D09800SB1922ham004%26GA%3D98%26SessionId%3D85%26DocTypeId%3DSB%26LegID%3D73354%26DocNum%3D1922%26GAID%3D12%26Session%3D&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEL9MZWqOZTKPul1CQW64R2_sAHpA">the current proposal</a> allows the pension funds to take Chicago to court, or even garnish City Hall&rsquo;s share of state grant money.</p><p>But the stabilization of the pension funds would also come at a cost for taxpayers and city workers.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s proposed property tax hike, which would still need approval from the City Council, would cost the owner of a $250,000 home about $58 more in property taxes each year for the next five years, according to the mayor&rsquo;s office.</p><p>Current and retired city workers would also kick more into their pension funds, but get less out of them. Employee contributions would jump from the current 8.5 percent of each paycheck to 11 percent by 2019.</p><p>But the mayor also wants to scale back the rate at which those benefits grow each year. Retirees in the municipal and laborers pension funds currently see their retirement benefits grow at a 3 percent compounded annual rate. The mayor wants to cut that down to a flat 3 percent, or half the rate of inflation, whichever is smaller. And retirees would see no benefit increase in 2017, 2019 or 2025.</p><p>Several of Chicago&rsquo;s most powerful city workers&rsquo; unions quickly came out against the mayor&rsquo;s plan, arguing it violates a part of the <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ilga.gov%2Fcommission%2Flrb%2Fcon13.htm&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHYjOR9TNeMJMsYGbhWyAumt2lbbA">Illinois Constitution</a> that says pension benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or impaired.&rdquo;</p><p>That includes the unions for police, firefighters and teachers, whose members all have their own woefully underfunded pensions systems that would not be affected by Emanuel&rsquo;s proposal. What&rsquo;s more, the mayor&rsquo;s plan does nothing to stave off a state-mandated spike in the city&rsquo;s contributions to its police and fire pensions next year, which will cost nearly $600 million.</p><p>The jump in required payments was designed to finally bring the city&rsquo;s police and fire pensions into the black, after decades of City Hall shorting the funds. But Emanuel has threatened that such a huge, one-time increase would force drastic budget cuts or steep property tax hikes.</p><p>A spokesman for venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, Quinn&rsquo;s Republican opponent in the November election, said in a statement that Rauner disagreed with the mayor&rsquo;s proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;Bruce has always maintained that true pension reform requires moving towards a defined contribution style system and believes that should also be part of the solution for Chicago,&rdquo; said campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fusers%2Fakeefe&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHCooL3ruU-DUyQdnHprdBP25WItg">Alex Keefe</a> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FWBEZpolitics&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE7HeV8c3K0gV2LF_GODmIGo6nkkg">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 15:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-quiet-mayor%E2%80%99s-pension-plan-questions-property-tax-hikes-109966