WBEZ | government http://www.wbez.org/tags/government Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Statehouse update with Amanda Vinicky http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-05/statehouse-update-amanda-vinicky-112570 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/statehouse FlickrJim Bowen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Things have been kind of quiet in Springfield lately even though the state is still without a budget. But the Senate yesterday did get some work done...including a vote on a local property tax freeze. Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky joins us from the capital with more details on what&rsquo;s happening in the legislature these days.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Aug 2015 11:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-05/statehouse-update-amanda-vinicky-112570 Morning Shift: Congress passes deal to re-open government and raise debt ceiling http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-17/morning-shift-congress-passes-deal-re-open-government <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Flickr geetarchurchy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After narrowly avoiding a default on its debt, the U.S. government is back open. We hear from a trio of Illinois Congressmen about why they voted how they did for the deal. (Photo: Flickr/law_kid)</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-death-of-neighborhood-high-schools/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-death-of-neighborhood-high-schools.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-death-of-neighborhood-high-schools" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Congress passes deal to re-open government and raise debt ceiling" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-17/morning-shift-congress-passes-deal-re-open-government Who was 25-year-old Rahm Emanuel? http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm25yo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As mayor of the city of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s days are anything but repetitive.</p><p dir="ltr">Some days, he crisscrosses the city for press conferences, packing in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199">phone calls to aldermen</a> and business leaders on the way.</p><p dir="ltr">Other days, he&rsquo;s in meetings at City Hall, talking Wrigley renovations or budget fixes, or maybe even calling President Barack Obama to talk over top issues, and who knows what else.</p><p dir="ltr">He&rsquo;s known to try to squeeze in a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324564704578626070625333886.html">workout</a> wherever he can, and sometimes, he commutes to work on the <a href="http://redeyechicago.tumblr.com/post/57525285278/our-mayor-really-gets-around">train </a>to mix things up a bit.</p><p>But 25-year-old Emanuel nailed down a pattern and stuck to it.</p><p>The year was 1984. Emanuel lived in Lakeview, near Waveland and Southport, in an old house converted into four apartments. He distinctly remembers his neighbors from that house: Emanuel was a graduate student at Northwestern University then, and would take the L back and forth to class every day.</p><p>As he recalls, there was just one restaurant by the Southport train station: a pizza place that sold pies by the slice.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d get off the train after school, get dinner, which was a slice of pizza, eat it walking home, and sit down and do my homework,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Is that pathetic?&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s two-bedroom apartment was on the second floor of the house. His rent: $330. And that included utilities.</p><p>&ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t touch a parking space for $330 there today,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>His classes were at <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/spring2012/feature/in-your-face-sidebar/rahms-grad-school-days-at-northwestern.html">Northwestern</a>&rsquo;s School of Speech and Communications, where he studied mass communications and classical rhetorical theory.</p><p>Emanuel squeezed the master&rsquo;s program into nine months.</p><p>&ldquo;It was basically I wanted to do mental gymnastics for a year, &rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;When I had graduated [from undergrad] and started working, I was not done enjoying the life of the mind, so to say.&rdquo;</p><p>The mayor said 25 marked a critical point. He always knew he wanted to go to graduate school, but that year he realized it was now or never.</p><p>When he wasn&rsquo;t debating about Aristotle or Cicero, Emanuel dabbled in political work. He spent some of that year at the Illinois Public Action Council. He was also in the throes of then-Congressman Paul Simon&rsquo;s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat, where he worked alongside people like Lisa Madigan, David Axelrod and Forrest Claypool, to name a few.</p><p>And yes, he was still <a href="http://www.joffrey.org/node/2854">dancing </a>when he was 25 years old. Twice a week.</p><p>Emanuel was a serious dancer in his youth, even earning a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. He passed it up to go to Sarah Lawrence. He says once the pressure was off to dance professionally, he wanted to get back to it.</p><p>Dance, Emanuel says, was important for discipline, as well as exercise.</p><p>But come on, besides all that, he must have been doing some socializing and dating as a twenty-something, right?</p><p>Emanuel says he&rsquo;ll keep most of those stories under wraps, but that his 25-year-old self was very much in the mindset of: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna be single for the rest of my life.&rdquo;</p><p>There was one woman he dated that year. Emanuel says the relationship ended when she decided to move to Washington, D.C. for a job, and he wanted to stay in Chicago.</p><p>But amid all the pizza, Aristotle, politics and ballet, Emanuel&rsquo;s sights were already set on Washington.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to finish Northwestern,&rdquo; Emanuel said was the goal. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m going to try and figure out how to one day work for a person who&rsquo;s going to be elected president.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/who-was-25-year-old-rahm-emanuel-108327 Ill. license fee for state parks goes to governor http://www.wbez.org/news/ill-license-fee-state-parks-goes-governor-104073 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; The Illinois Senate has approved a $2 license plate fee to improve crumbling state parks.</p><p>The plan to cut into a $750 million backlog in park maintenance and repairs now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn. He&#39;s indicated he approves of the proposal.</p><p>It was the second go for the Senate. The measure failed in June but received a 39-11 vote in favor on Wednesday.</p><p>The money would be used by the Department of Natural Resources. It was suggested as an alternative to charging an entrance fee.</p><p>A basic annual license plate costs $99.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 12:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ill-license-fee-state-parks-goes-governor-104073 U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to return to Congress in January http://www.wbez.org/news/us-sen-mark-kirk-return-congress-january-103718 <p><p>U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is setting his priorities for his return to Washington.</p><p>Kirk hasn&#39;t been back to the U.S. Senate since suffering a stroke earlier this year, but <a href="http://bit.ly/XjhNCo">WLS TV&nbsp;reports</a> he&#39;s planning to return in January.</p><p>Kirk tells WLS that he will make a ban on dumping sewage in the Great Lakes his priority for this Congress.</p><p>The 53-year-old Republican discussed his plans when he stopped at a polling place in the Chicago suburb of Highwood to cast his ballot Tuesday. He used a cane as he walked to the polls and greeted well-wishers.</p><p>Kirk&#39;s says he&#39;s feeling good after he climbed 37 floors of the Willis Tower on Sunday for a Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago fundraiser. He admits he took a long nap after the event.</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 09:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-sen-mark-kirk-return-congress-january-103718 Insight Labs ponders how technology has changed the way Millennials view democracy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/insight-labs-ponders-how-technology-has-changed-way-millennials-view-democracy <p><p>Since the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHa6RTUBoC0">26th Amendment</a> decreased the voting age to 18 in 1971, the symbol of the voting booth has gone through a period of transition. It no longer represents exclusivity and instead has become a ubiquitous element of American adult life. But for the Millenial generation, the once-powerful act of pulling the lever has lost its appeal as the perception of its inherent value has diminished. So, in the 21st Century, how do we not only make our votes count, but make sure they have value as well?<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/I voted for the 44th President of the US (FlickrPhoney Nickle).jpg" style="float: right; height: 250px; width: 250px;" title="I Voted for the 44th President of the US (Flickr/Phoney Nickle)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/I%20voted%20for%20the%2044th%20President%20of%20the%20US%20%28FlickrPhoney%20Nickle%29.jpg" style="height: 4px; width: 4px; float: right; " title="I Voted for the 44th President of the US (Flickr/Phoney Nickle)" /></p><p>Well, Jeff Leitner and Howell J. Malhalm Jr. of <a href="http://www.theinsightlabs.org/">Insight Labs</a> are trying to get to the heart of that very question. Insight Labs is dedicated to bringing together smart, creative people from non-profit organizations, NGO&rsquo;s, and government agencies to brainstorm ideas about solving the world&rsquo;s problems by thinking outside the box. Insight Labs host three-hour discussion sessions (called &ldquo;Labs&rdquo;) that attempt to tackle seemingly impossible problems from a myriad different angles. Two weeks ago, Insight Labs partnered with <a href="http://www.ourtime.org/">Our Time</a>, an upstart advocacy group for young Americans to voice their unique concerns in the political discourse, to conduct a Lab in Washington D.C to develop a new model for measuring civic participation that takes into account our changing cultural landscape.</p><p>This proved fruitful as the team took away <a href="http://www.theinsightlabs.org/labs/moving-beyond-the-vote">many unique insights from the session</a>. For one thing, experts are saying &ldquo;that turnout in itself is not a particularly relevant measure of the health of a democratic society,&rdquo; and rather the more relevant measure is vote&rsquo;s meaningful impact on society. Personal agency is paramount in a democracy simply because people want the feeling that they have control over their own destinies. Voting was the ultimate symbol of agency in the United States for many years, but now that the very nature of agency is changing in light of technological advances that give us an unprecedentedly high degree of personalization and freedom over our own lives, voting seems quite antiquated. Why would the younger generation buy into designating leaders by proxy when their lives are ruled by themselves?</p><p>Now, <a href="http://www.theinsightlabs.org/about">Jeff and Howell</a> are bringing this question to The Afternoon Shift and the American people: Are young people outgrowing democracy? Howell believes that democracy has run its course and that we should form a new type of political participation that can actually accomplish something in the face of political polarization, financial crises, and unprecedented technological change. On the other hand, Jeff thinks that democracy has always needed an intergenerational reboot and the Millenials are just the people to bring it up to speed.</p><p>Host Steve Edwards will explore this burning question with Jeff and Howell on today&rsquo;s Afternoon Shift.&nbsp; Listen to the conversation and voice your own opinion on our twitter feed.&nbsp; Use the hashtag #doesvotingmatter</p><script charset="utf-8" src="http://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script><script> new TWTR.Widget({ version: 2, type: 'search', search: '#doesvotingmatter', interval: 30000, title: 'Afternoon Shift and Insight Labs', subject: 'Does voting still matter?', width: 'auto', height: 300, theme: { shell: { background: '#a60202', color: '#ffffff' }, tweets: { background: '#ffffff', color: '#444444', links: '#1985b5' } }, features: { scrollbar: true, loop: true, live: true, behavior: 'default' } }).render().start(); </script></p> Fri, 27 Jul 2012 10:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/insight-labs-ponders-how-technology-has-changed-way-millennials-view-democracy Former Bulls forward has a new job: Mayor http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-06/former-bulls-forward-has-new-job-mayor-100325 <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/Brad%20Sellers%20and%20President%20Obama.jpg" style="float: left; width: 400px; height: 318px; " title="Warrenville Heights, Ohio mayor Brad Sellers greets President Obama at the Cleveland airport. (AP/Mark Duncan)" /></div><p>When professional athletes finish their careers at a relatively young age, some don&rsquo;t &nbsp;&mdash; or won&rsquo;t &mdash; think about what to do next. Others, like former Bulls forward Brad Sellers, pursue entirely new careers you might not expect. &nbsp;</p><p>I should correct one thing when referring to Sellers, though &mdash; that&rsquo;s Mayor Sellers to you.</p><p>Twenty-six years ago, Sellers was the Bulls number one draft pick; fast forward to November 2011, he was elected mayor of Warrenville Heights, Ohio.</p><p>He considers himself to be more of a public official than a politician, but in a recent conversation Sellers told me, &ldquo;I can be political with the best of them &mdash; after learning that in the Bulls and Pistons locker rooms.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Sellers said his upbringing had everything to do with his new career. In 1970, parents Robert and Jean left urban Cleveland and moved to the predominantly white suburb of Warrenville Heights. They moved in part to seek out better schools. But it was a racially volatile time in America, and the transition was not easy for the family, especially for Brad and his brother, Marvin. His parents countered by becoming active in the community, attending every city council and school board meeting. Eventually, Sellers said, the community learned to respect his parents, and he learned from these experiences. &ldquo;I was dragged to all the community meetings,&rdquo; said Sellers, &ldquo;I would be ingrained with all the conversations.&rdquo;</p><p>Sellers put those lessons on the back burner while he secured his education and pursued a pro basketball career. In 1986, after finishing his college basketball career at Ohio State, Sellers heard he would likely be selected in the first round by the Detroit Pistons, with the 11th&nbsp;pick overall. The night of the draft, two camera crews from local Detroit stations came to his home to await the decision.</p><p>Surprisingly though, the Bulls took Sellers at number nine. He didn&rsquo;t know, but the Bulls&rsquo; fan base was shocked and angry by the selection. Prior to the draft, there were some behind the scenes factions of Bulls management and players that wanted Duke&rsquo;s point guard, Johnny Dawkins, and leaked it to the press.</p><p>Sellers went to a local Cleveland television station to do a live interview broadcasted in Chicago.&nbsp;When he went on the air, he heard the ire of the fans at the Bulls draft party &mdash; it wasn&rsquo;t pretty. &ldquo;I was grinning from ear-to-ear. Next thing, I hear the booing,&rdquo; he recalled. &ldquo;I was shelled shocked &mdash; this was supposed to be the best day in my life.&rdquo;</p><p>His career in Chicago proved to be a similar roller coaster ride. He played here for three years and enjoyed his teammates, including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but never quite fit into the system. He was a 7&rsquo;1&rdquo; forward with an outside jump shot who played away from the basket. This style of play was uncommon then, but is very much in vogue in the NBA today. Present Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinkney said that Sellers and then General Manager Jerry Krause &ldquo;were ahead of the times.&rdquo;</p><p>Since Sellers didn&rsquo;t quite fit in, he asked Jordan to help him convince Bulls management he needed to be dealt. He was sent to Seattle, played in Minnesota and Detroit and finished up his career overseas.</p><p>With his playing days over and his finances secure, Sellers knew he wanted to go back home to Warrenville Heights. He played golf and was doing some sports broadcasting but he wanted to continue the work his parents had trained him to do: community service. It didn&rsquo;t take long (just months after his return) for Mayor Marsha Fudge to enlist him as the economic development director. He held that job for nearly 11 years.</p><p>Then, a few years ago, Fudge moved on to become the congressional representative of the district. With the former mayor&rsquo;s encouragement and Sellers desire to improve his hometown,&nbsp;he was easily elected mayor last November. He garnered support from all demographics: young, old, black and white. He believes his family&rsquo;s ties to the community, especially the elders that were his parent&rsquo;s peers, were instrumental in this win. Sellers knocked on all the homeowners&rsquo; doors when he campaigned, and even now, if a constituent sends a note or email, he will go to their door to talk.</p><p>Sellers said his top priority is improving his home town&rsquo;s school system.When his family moved there, it was one of the top ten in the state; it has since dropped to the bottom five. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t evolve and the world passed us by,&rdquo; said Sellers. He is aiming to get it restored to the top ten or 15. Like many areas, the recession brought rough economic times, but Sellers said they have &ldquo;survived it.&rdquo;</p><p>Sellers argued that working in government is like playing in the NBA: &ldquo;It is no different than the politics of a locker room and you have to motivate the people because you can&rsquo;t do it by yourself.&rdquo;</p><p>He claimed to have no future political aspirations, having just landed the job; but there are Ohio Democrats that want more from him. During a recent campaign stop, Brad greeted President Obama at the Cleveland airport. But for now, he just wants to settle into this new job.</p><p>&ldquo;I enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed going into a NBA arena,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I thought I&rsquo;d never say that.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 25 Jun 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-06/former-bulls-forward-has-new-job-mayor-100325 Taxes: The high cost of living in America http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/taxes-high-cost-living-america-98209 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/taxes_Flickr_401K.jpg" title="Al Gini argues that no matter what any politician promises, taxes are not going down. So what’s a citizen to do? (Flickr/401K)"></div><p>This year Tax Day falls not on April 15, but on Tuesday April 17. But whatever the exact date our taxes are due, every year at this time a collective lament can be heard around the nation: “Taxes go higher and higher; we send the government a larger and larger slice of our paychecks! We fought The Revolution partially over the principle ‘of no taxes without proper representation!’ Well, we won at the level of representation, but we keep losing on the level of taxation!”</p><p>Historically, the truth of the matter is that all governments, large and small, are forced to tax their subjects; and many of these taxes have been so absorbent that they precipitated dissent, riot, and, on occasion, revolution. Nevertheless, taxes are the lifeblood, the fuel, the energy of a nation. It is the means by which governments pay their bills and offers their citizens services, perks and benefits. Without taxes, governments, good or bad, tend to fail.</p><p>Although historians and CPAs tell us that federal taxes have been higher in previous years, the burden of taxation on the individual citizen seems excessive, not just because of the federal income tax, but because of the sum total of taxing bodies to which we’re subjected.</p><p>According to Ronald Capizzi, a tax expert and financial advisor, federal tax rates look something like this:</p><ul><li>Individual earners making less than $18,000 a year and families of four earning less than $24,000 are not subject to taxes.</li><li>Lower middle class, dual income households pay about 10% of their income.</li><li>Middle-middle class, dual income households pay about 15 to 25% of their income.</li><li>Upper-middle class, dual income households pay about 28 to 33% of their income.</li><li>The “super” wealthy pay 35% and more of their income.</li></ul><p>Now, all things considered, this schedule of federal taxes seems doable and manageable. Unfortunately, the average American’s vulnerability to taxes does not stop here.</p><p>Using a dual income, home-owning family as our model, added to the federal tax bill are the local real estate tax, state income tax (5 to 7% per annum) and various county and city sales taxes (7 to 11% per purchase). In effect, what this means is that individual families in the middle-middle class and above can pay in excess of 45% of their gross income in various taxes!</p><p>If you’re not depressed yet, there’s also this: Like the continuous rise in the cost of gasoline, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Since 9/11, the war on terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the general needs of the military have skyrocketed. Add to that inflation, the needs of the “baby boomer” generation, the Great Recession and an unemployment rate finally down to 8.3% from a high of 9.5%, and I can promise you that federal taxes are not going down. At the state level, infrastructure is falling apart: Every state needs new roads, better bridges, etc. etc. Every city needs to improve their schools, develop public transportation and keep the streets clean. So, bottom line is, no matter what any politician promises, taxes are not going down.</p><p>So what’s a citizen to do? Frankly, I’m no longer sure. Taxes are supposed to be a “social engineering device.” They are supposed to pay for things that individuals cannot or will not be able to pay for or provide for themselves: e.g. schools, highways, police and fire departments. Do we, as a society, now suddenly decide not to pay for schools, police or Medicare? This, I think, would be even more unacceptable to most of us than simply paying our taxes, no matter how high. In the end, I think my father-in-law had it right when he said that he hated paying taxes, but he loved this country. And so, he paid his taxes, because you couldn’t have one without the other.</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 11:20:35 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/taxes-high-cost-living-america-98209 U.S. Government seals $25 billion mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/021012 seg a3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors reached a $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosures.&nbsp; So, what now? That's the question on many current and former homeowners' minds.</p><p>Ed Jacob, the executive director of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), sussed out the details and answered callers questions.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 In Switzerland, lots of guns but little gun crime http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-02/switzerland-lots-guns-little-gun-crime-89981 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-02/switzerland.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As part of our <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank">Here, There</a></em> series, we're taking a look at gun ownership and crime in other countries. In Switzerland, guns are readily available. Recreational shooting and shooting clubs are popular among Swiss men. Military service is compulsory, and the government issues automatic assault rifles and ammunition to all young males.</p><p>Despite widespread gun ownership, Switzerland has a very low rate of gun crime, says <a href="http://www.crim.upenn.edu/faculty/profiles/adler.html" target="_blank">Freda Adler</a> an expert in comparative criminology who's lived and studied in Switzerland.</p></p> Tue, 02 Aug 2011 15:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-02/switzerland-lots-guns-little-gun-crime-89981