WBEZ | carrie austin http://www.wbez.org/tags/carrie-austin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aldermen not on board with Emanuel's library cuts http://www.wbez.org/story/aldermen-not-board-emanuels-library-cuts-93370 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/CPL books.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 4:05 p.m. </em></p><p>Chicago aldermen appear ready to revolt on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget over dramatic layoffs slated for city libraries.</p><p>Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey told the council the roughly $10 million city funding reduction would mean 284 job cuts and, consequently, hours and service cuts. She watched her words carefully, but was clearly not on board with Emanuel's proposal.</p><p>"Our mission is to provide library services in every neighborhood, and we'll do the best we can," Dempsey said Friday morning.</p><p>Dempsey also warned the reduction could jeopardize library funding from the state. The cuts were not popular with aldermen, including the influential budget committee chair, Carrie Austin, who called it "ridiculous" that Emanuel hit libraries with so many layoffs.</p><p>"I think all of our hearts bleed for the libraries, because they are more than just the library, they’re an intricate part of all of our communities," Austin said. "It’s just very disheartening."</p><p>Alderman after alderman promised to try to reverse the cuts. John Pope suggested raising taxes. Tim Cullerton wondered if Oprah Winfrey could kick in $10 million.</p><p>"I'm appealing to her on behalf of the libraries in Chicago," Cullerton said, as Dempsey laughed.</p><p>Later in the day, Austin said about 10 aldermen are currently working on an alternative to the library reduction.</p><p>"If your goal is the $10 million...I think we can find that in another aspect," Austin said. "It's going to be hard on the citizens of Chicago no matter what we do, because ultimately the citizens are the ones that pay the price."</p><p>Mayor Emanuel has defended the reduction, noting some cities have closed library branches. The cuts are part of the mayor's 2012 budget proposal, which sought to close a $636 million budget deficit.</p></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/aldermen-not-board-emanuels-library-cuts-93370 Chicago aldermen seek dollar surcharge on cab rides http://www.wbez.org/story/cab/chicago-aldermen-seek-dollar-surcharge-cab-rides <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/taxis_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>A pair of powerful Chicago aldermen want to add a one dollar surcharge to taxi rides in the city. Finance Committee Chair Ed Burke, 14th,&nbsp;and Budget Committee Chair Carrie Austin say the cash-strapped city could get $70 million from the taxi surcharge.<br /><br />&quot;These are mainly used by visitors to Chicago, business people who're on expense accounts and it isn't a big amount,&quot; Burke said. &quot;A $1 surcharge isn't going to hurt anybody, in my opinion.&quot;<br /><br />A couple years ago, taxi drivers won the right to charge a gasoline surcharge of up to a dollar, but they get to keep that money.<br /><br />George Lutfallah is with the <em>Chicago Dispatcher</em>, a publication for taxi drivers. He worries that another dollar surcharge could discourage people from taking cabs for shorter trips.<br /><br />Asked about that concern, Alderman Burke said, &quot;good.&quot;<br /><br />&quot;That'll be good for people's exercise,&quot; he said. &quot;They'll get more exercise walking.&quot;<br /><br />Burke says the proposed ordinance will now be sent to the FInance Committee for a hearing.</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cab/chicago-aldermen-seek-dollar-surcharge-cab-rides Mayor Daley's final budget passes http://www.wbez.org/story/bob-fioretti/mayor-daleys-final-budget-passes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/daley web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council Wednesday signed off on Mayor Richard Daley's final city budget. The plan does not raise property taxes, but it does empty some of the city's reserves.</p><p>Bob Fioretti of the 2nd Ward was one of just seven aldermen to vote against Mayor Daley's spending plan. He criticized its reliance on money from the billion dollar parking meter lease fund.<br /><br />&quot;Only 6.6 percent will remain, and there still are 73 years left on the lease,&quot;&nbsp;Fioretti said.<br /> <br /> &quot;Again this year, we came up with a few more rabbits to pull out of a hat,&quot; said 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore.</p><p>Moore and a handful of other aldermen voted &quot;no&quot; on parts of the mayor's budget, but then &quot;yes&quot; on other parts. That led to a mocking reaction from Daley.</p><p>&quot;Uh oh, Joe! You can't. Please,&quot; Daley said. The mayor then turned to the crowd of reporters in the room, who often quote Moore disagreeing with the mayor.</p><p>&quot;You can't interview him anymore. What's going to happen?&quot; Daley asked with a laugh.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="350" height="263" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/stone web.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>Ald. Carrie Austin of the 34th Ward, the budget committee chair, says the parking meter funds were needed to prevent steep service cuts and tax increases. Austin ridiculed those who spoke against the budget.</p><p>&quot;[If] you got suggestions, if you've got alternatives, if you've got revenue suggestions, bring them forth,&quot; she challenged.</p><p>At a press conference after the vote, Daley dismissed criticism that his budget just kicks the city's financial problems down the road.<br /><br />&quot;No, I don't kick the can. I never kick the can in my life,&quot; the mayor said.<br /><br />Daley, who is not seeking re-election in next year's city elections, insists Chicago is in better financial shape than when he took office in 1989.</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 00:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bob-fioretti/mayor-daleys-final-budget-passes