WBEZ | Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-mayor-rahm-emaneul Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Agribusiness giant ADM to move headquarters to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/agribusiness-giant-adm-move-headquarters-chicago-109403 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP999033656274.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Archer Daniels Midland Company announced Wednesday it is moving its global headquarters to Chicago, but said the agribusiness giant could still set up a new technology center in another state after failing to win millions in tax breaks.</p><p>The company said in a written statement it would move a small corporate team of about 50-75 employees to Chicago, but won&#39;t, at least for now, be bringing 100 more jobs that were to come with the technology center it had planned for the same site.</p><p>Chicago, with its two international airports and big-city amenities, was an obvious contender when the company first announced in September that it planned to move its headquarters from Decatur in central Illinois to a location with better access to its customers worldwide.</p><p>&quot;While we considered other global hubs, Chicago emerged as the best location to provide efficient access to global markets while maintaining our close connections with U.S. farmers, customers and operations,&quot; said ADM Chairman and Chief Executive Patricia Woertz in the company&#39;s statement.</p><p>ADM plans to keep about 4,400 jobs in Decatur, where it&#39;s been headquartered for 44 years, and make that city its North American headquarters.</p><p>Woertz noted in her statement that the company had originally planned to bundle its new global headquarters with the technology center in one location that could have brought twice as many jobs to the city. She called that a &quot;comprehensive plan&quot; that would have &quot;included state government support and multiyear commitments to stakeholders.&quot;</p><p>But Illinois lawmakers did not pass a sought-after tax-incentive package.</p><p>Woertz said the plan to locate the IT center with the global headquarters &quot;could not be realized within ADM&#39;s timeframe&quot; and that the company was scouting out alternative sites in several states. She said the company expects to make a decision by the middle of next year.</p><p>Still, Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the company&#39;s move as a win, saying it would solidify Chicago&#39;s ranking as one of the top cities in the world for international headquarters.</p><p>&quot;Our goal was to put the city&#39;s best foot forward and highlight Chicago&#39;s strengths: an outstanding workforce, globally renowned transportation and infrastructure, and excellent quality of life,&quot; Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>The company&#39;s announcement earlier this year prompted a new round of concerns about Illinois&#39; business climate and debate in the Legislature about whether the state should offer financial incentives so that companies would create new jobs or keep jobs there.</p><p>ADM had sought up to $30 million in tax breaks to keep the global headquarters in Illinois. The Illinois Senate and a House committee approved that deal during a special legislative session earlier this month, but the House adjourned without voting on the measure.</p><p>Business leaders and some lawmakers feared the lack of action would frustrate ADM and send the company out of state. But House Speaker Michael Madigan criticized ADM and other companies for seeking the incentives. The powerful Chicago Democrat also said he was unlikely to support perks for companies that pay little in taxes.</p><p>ADM has about 30,000 employees worldwide.</p><p>While Chicago officials had said the city was in the running for the new global headquarters, officials in Atlanta and St. Louis said they also were also in contact with ADM.</p></p> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/work/agribusiness-giant-adm-move-headquarters-chicago-109403 School closings? Beavers conviction? The results of our corrupt system http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/school-closings-beavers-conviction-results-our-corrupt-system-106222 <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/RS760_114218744-scr.jpg" style="height: 261px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Mayor Emanuel presides without checks and balances over Chicago. (AP)" />Fifty-four school closings! How did we ever get in this mess?</div><p><br />Er, ahem, shall we do some math?<br /><br />Let&rsquo;s start with recent headlines. First, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">Chicago Proposes Closing 54 Schools</a>&rdquo; plus &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-convicts-william-beavers-tax-evasion-106207">Jury Convicts William Beavers of Tax Evasion</a>.&rdquo;<br /><br />What does this equal?<br /><br />At a quick glance, the two stories may not share much except their sensational nature. But the closings of 54 schools and the conviction of the Cook County politician are the results of a long, enmeshed system that gives the mayor unprecedented power and breeds corruption, both big and small.<br /><br />The first story goes to a shock treatment to a school system that is in a deep, deep crisis after years of mismanagement, corruption and politicking by city government.</p><p>Remember how in 1988 the late Mayor Harold Washington helped pass the Chicago School Reform Act down in Springfield, which created Local School Councils and gave them unprecedented power to manage neighborhood schools? It was a new dawn, yes. And then a year later, Mayor Richard M. Daley got elected and began the push to strip the LSCs of virtually all say, finally accomplished in 1995 when the state made the mayor of Chicago the undisputed -- and I do mean <em>undisputed</em>, since the mayor appoints the board where the only possible pushback could come from -- czar of the Chicago Public Schools. The charter school craze in Chicago began just about then, and school closings became a part of every discussion about education reform.<br /><br />What does Beavers have to do with this? After all, he was on the City Council back then, a self-described &ldquo;master of the backroom deal&rdquo; and unabashed crony in our fair city&rsquo;s long history of crony corruption, and then on the county Board of Commissioners, neither of which has much say about schools.</p><p>But Beavers, who had a brief moment of progressive politics when, as a black politician, he rode the wave of Washington&rsquo;s historic 1983 election and simply could not oppose the mayor without risking his political life, quickly fell in line under Daley. The man never saw a screw-the-citizen deal he couldn&rsquo;t vote yes for, including parking meters and pension giveaways, private contracts to mayoral pals, etc., etc., etc.<br /><br />Still don&rsquo;t follow the math? Okay, add in his recent headline: &ldquo;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/18993800-418/city-of-chicago-hit-with-578-million-tab-in-parking-garage-snafu.html">City of Chicago hit with $57.8 Million Tab in Parking Garage Snafu</a>.&rdquo; It seems the city signed a 99 year-long $563 million dollar contract with a private company for parking services, promising them no competition, then turned around and gave a contract to some competitors just a few blocks away.<br /><br />Beavers was around then, nodding in Daley&rsquo;s direction like one of those little dashboard dogs, and giving pieces of the city away as part of the mayor&rsquo;s largesse towards his friends.<br /><br />Oh, I know, he wasn&rsquo;t alone. What is about Chicago that we keep electing strongmen as mayors, then fill an overstuffed, overblown, worthless City Council with lackeys that give that Caudillo lopsided votes guaranteeing they get everything they want in exchange for a few crumbs?</p><p>Let&rsquo;s be frank, with the single exception of Edward Burke, the 14th Ward Suzerain, the rewards to those who facilitate the mayor&rsquo;s grandiose giveaways are relatively minor. Especially in black wards, they mostly survive to vote again, to run again, to buy a steak dinner and impress neighbors and distant cousins.<br /><br />How bad is it? Over at <em>Chicago Magazine</em>, Steve Rhodes put together a little study that details <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/April-2013/The-Yes-Men-Near-Unanimous-Consent/">City Council votes</a> since Mayor Rahm Emanuel got elected. Wanna get depressed? A full third of the City Council has never voted against Emanuel, <em>ever</em> (and this is a improvement over the Council&rsquo;s bending over for Daley). In 26 meetings, our representatives have given the mayor 1,333 yes votes and only 122 nos (about half of those come from the same five aldermen and -- get this -- the only minority alderman who occasionally votes against the mayor is Leslie Hairston, from Hyde Park, where her political life depends on not being the mayor&rsquo;s total lap dog).<br /><br />In other words, the mayor presides over a City Council that&rsquo;s bought and sold. He appoints the members to the school board which is the only check and balance on his power over the city&rsquo;s schools.<br /><br />Checks and balances? <em>Please.</em> Look at this headline: &ldquo;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/19012878-418/state-supreme-court-rules-city-ig-cant-subpoena-chicago-documents.html">State Supreme Court Rules City IG Can&rsquo;t Subpoena Chicago Documents</a>.&rdquo; It turns out the city&rsquo;s Inspector General needs the mayor&rsquo;s approval to investigate anything having to do with the mayor&rsquo;s office. Does that make sense to anyone? The court&#39;s vote was unanimous. Let&rsquo;s not even bother to get into who&rsquo;s on the court, or their paths there.<br /><br />Yes, I know that much of what Emanuel is hammering through right now -- whether it&rsquo;s the school closings or the multiple million dollar settlements or dealing with the very bad deals the city has to contend with -- isn&rsquo;t his doing. I get that it&rsquo;s an inheritance.<br /><br />But here&rsquo;s the other thing I get: Unless this very corrupt and insular system itself changes -- and that starts with whom we, as citizens, elect to lower offices such as the City Council -- nothing else will change. Emanuel and Daley are of the same royally-entitled bloodline.</p><p>And Beavers? He&rsquo;s just one of thousands of bastard children willing to do anything for the royals&#39; approval.<br /><br />Add that up and it&rsquo;s pretty ugly.</p></p> Fri, 22 Mar 2013 11:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/school-closings-beavers-conviction-results-our-corrupt-system-106222 Some Chicago Public Schools students get financial help getting to school http://www.wbez.org/news/some-chicago-public-schools-students-get-financial-help-getting-school-101985 <p><div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" h.s.="" kate="" mayor="" rahm="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rahm welcome.jpg" style="height: 387px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="" to="" wbez="" welcome="" wells="" />For years many Chicago Public School students have had to deal with long and expensive daily commutes to school.</p><p>But a new pilot program announced Monday looks to give a few of them relief this year.<br /><br />Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the program this morning alongside members of the <a href="http://www.mikvachallenge.org/">Mikva Challenge Mayoral Youth Commission</a>, a student group that works with the Mayor to suggest new ideas for the city. &nbsp;Emanuel said that 500 students spread equally among five high schools would be provided with free bus and train rides to school for the first half of the year. It&rsquo;s part of a program to see if attendance rates are affected by the cost of transit.<br /><br />The participating schools are Roberto Clemente Community Academy in West Town, Richards Career Academy in New City, Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School in Englewood and Wells Community Academy High School in West Town.<br /><br />In total, there are over 100,000 high school students enrolled in the CPS system, many of whom are enrolled in the student reduced fare card program.<br /><br />As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-some-find-public-transit-fares-linked-school-attendance-94885">reported by WBEZ last December</a>, for the past several years Wells had implemented their own program to combat increasing attendance programs, which they called the Transportation Incentive Program. 60 kids were given free fare cards for the 2011-12 school year, paid for out of the school&rsquo;s discretionary funds; Wells reported that for that year, daily attendance for TIP program participants was 85 percent, three percent higher than the school average. The school also saw a 31 percent increase in attendance for those particular students.<br /><br />&ldquo;When I was campaigning I&rsquo;d be out at the El stops and there&rsquo;s not a time that I hadn&rsquo;t been at an &quot;L&quot; stop where I have not had kids come to me and say, &lsquo;Can you give me 50 cents, can you give me a dollar so I can get to school?&rsquo;&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;And so as soon as [Mikva presented the idea of a free fare card], it touched a chord with me, a responsive chord, that our kids at many times face the difficulty of getting to school.&rdquo;<br /><br />Emanuel said he particularly liked the idea that students would be contractually obligated to keep up their attendance rates by enrolling in the progam.<br /><br />The program is being bankrolled by Chicago philanthropist Wendy Abrams, who has given $50,000 to be divided evenly among the schools. When asked how the program could be funded if it was expanded further, Emanuel pointed to the possibility of additional public-private partnerships.<br /><br />In August of 2011, Mikva released a student-led report entitled <em><a href="http://www.mikvachallenge.org/site/files/719/124189/417288/569868/Youth_Voice_-_Ushering_in_a_New_Era_for_Chicago.pd">Youth Voice: Ushering in a New </a><br /><a href="http://www.mikvachallenge.org/site/files/719/124189/417288/569868/Youth_Voice_-_Ushering_in_a_New_Era_for_Chicago.pd">Era for Chicago</a></em>, where they recommended the Chicago Transit Authority create a card called the &ldquo;Chi-card&rdquo; that would function as a universal card for all students, combining their library cards, school IDs and CTA transit cards. In their vision, the rides on that card would be unlimited and free.<br /><br />Citing similar programs in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, the report stated that:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><em>&ldquo;In order to use the reduced fare card on trains, you must show your student permit, then the CTA worker will then let you through. Most of the time, the CTA workers are not present in the area at the time, so youth have problems using them which makes them late to their destination. This card would eliminate the problem of students being late and waiting on a CTA worker to let them through, even when they do have their permit present. It also would save students the trouble of carrying different cards they use every day, all day.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Another problem is that many students cannot afford to get to school. Because of this, their attendance rates drop. It is not that they don&rsquo;t want to go, but that they cannot afford to get there.&rdquo;</em></p></blockquote>The University of Chicago&rsquo;s Network for College Success will be tracking attendance data during the pilot program to see if the program works. The University also helped picked the schools that would be participating in the program, each of which will be tailored to the needs of specific schools.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/full photo.JPG" style="height: 224px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Augustine Flores of Mikva Challenge speaks about the pilot program at Wells Community High School (WBEZ/Kate Dries)" />&ldquo;We think that this is important because we really do live in a world-class city and education is a right for all youth,&rdquo; said Augustine Flores, a member of the Mikva Challenge group.<br /><br />For now, Emanuel seemed confident that attendance and the cost of transit are connected.<br /><br />&ldquo;I do want to also say the data coming out of Wells, not just on attendance, but also on the disciplinary issues and also on the graduation are all indications that transportation was actually a barrier,&rdquo; said Emanuel. &ldquo;It was a barrier that was also in sync with what I was seeing at each of the CTA stations throughout the city.&rdquo;<br /><br />The CTA also announced this morning that they will be continue to provide free rides to all Chicago Public Schools students on Tuesday, September 4, the first day of a school, through a partnership with Sun-Times Media, who will contribute $150,000 to the program.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/discounted-transit-cards-cps-students-extended-longer-school-day-101824">Last week</a>, the hours for student reduced fare card use were expanded to match the longer school day.</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-chicago-public-schools-students-get-financial-help-getting-school-101985