WBEZ | TIFs http://www.wbez.org/tags/tifs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Exploring options for caring for the elderly http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-16/morning-shift-exploring-options-caring-elderly-110031 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/old Flickr VinothChandar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We unpack some of the questions surrounding elder care. Also, a conversation with comedian Bob Saget, whose new book swings back and forth between funny and poignant.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-exploring-options-for-caring-for-the/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-exploring-options-for-caring-for-the.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-exploring-options-for-caring-for-the" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Exploring options for caring for the elderly" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-16/morning-shift-exploring-options-caring-elderly-110031 Chicago Public Schools to get TIF surplus, but impact for schools unclear http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/chicago-public-schools-get-tif-surplus-impact-schools-unclear-109137 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/artworks-000062567170-td8plg-t500x500.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago schools are in line to get a small infusion of cash from City Hall that parents and activists say could help offset significant school budget cuts made over the summer.</p><p dir="ltr">But it remains unclear how much individual schools will see.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he planned to again declare a more than $49 million surplus on money sitting in the city&rsquo;s 151 tax-increment financing (TIF) accounts. A TIF surplus would be distributed to the city&rsquo;s taxing bodies according to state law, with about half of the total amount going to Chicago Public Schools.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s massive network of TIF districts is expected to reap nearly $376 million next year. In a TIF district, any increase in property tax revenue caused by an increase in property values is funneled into a special fund designated for economic development projects. That means revenue growth is diverted away from local taxing bodies, though unused surplus money is supposed to be returned to them at the end of each year.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently, the mayor&rsquo;s administration decides how much money to surplus, and the City Council must sign off on the declaration. However, some independent aldermen want to change that.</p><p dir="ltr">At Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting, members of the Progressive Caucus say they plan to invoke a procedural move to bring an alternative proposal on TIF surpluses to the council floor for debate and a vote.</p><p dir="ltr">Their ordinance, which has been bottled up in a committee for months and prevented from going before the full council, would would automatically trigger a surplus declaration from TIFs that took in more than $1 million last year. Members of the caucus say the ordinance would generate a larger surplus than Emanuel is proposing.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>How much money is tied up in TIFs?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">There are currently 151 TIF districts in the city of Chicago that collectively have about $1.7 billion to use toward economic development. Of that, about $1.53 billion is &ldquo;encumbered&rdquo; - that is, tied up with current projects - according to Alex Holt, the city&rsquo;s budget director.</p><p dir="ltr">That leaves about $170 million to $180 million that could potentially be released as surplus back to city agencies, Holt said. But, as she explained to WBEZ last week, the city sees a need to do some additional subtraction, leaving a projected $49 million surplus for 2014. Here&rsquo;s the city&rsquo;s math:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">$40 million next year goes toward paying down bonds for the Modern School Across Chicago program, a massive school building effort, and can&rsquo;t be surplused</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">$35.1 million is subtracted for TIFs that have had no revenue or may have declining revenue</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">$11 million remains in TIFs that have balances of less than $1 million</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">$37 million is reserved for single-project TIFs and future obligations</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr">After that, the city is left with about $49 million in unused TIF money to surplus, Holt said. The public schools would get about $24 million in additional revenue. On Friday, Emanuel signed an executive order that will annually declare at least 25 percent of unused TIF money as a surplus.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said in an e-mail that the district has not yet determined where it would spend the additional revenue. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Schools do benefit from TIF money through new construction and capital upgrades. The mayor&rsquo;s budget office says 35 percent of TIF spending in 2014 will go to school capital projects. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ &nbsp;has repeatedly requested a breakdown of all current TIF-funded projects, but CPS has not yet provided it.</p><p dir="ltr">However, in a string of recent press conferences, Mayor Emanuel has announced a handful of new school buildings and additions&mdash;some at the city&rsquo;s most affluent and selective schools&mdash;which will be funded with either TIF money and state construction grants.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Long-term solution or quick fix?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The administration has been saying TIF money is not a panacea for the district&rsquo;s budget problems. CPS faces a structural deficit driven largely by jumps in required pension payments after years of neglecting to adequately fund its pension system.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Even with...the surplus that some people have called for, those things don&rsquo;t begin to plug the budget gap that either the CPS or city have been seeing,&rdquo; Holt said. &ldquo;When you look at CPS with a billion dollars&rsquo; worth of budget gap that they&rsquo;ve had to address, the dollar amounts are really just too small to accomplish that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But for parents and activists, every dollar counts. Kate Bolduc sits on the local school council at Blaine Elementary and is the co-founder of a coalition of local school councils advocating for adequate funding from CPS.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We understand that it&rsquo;s only a short term solution but we&rsquo;ll take it,&rdquo; Bolduc said. &ldquo;We need it. We have students who are sitting in classes that are way too large. We have students missing out on technology, foreign language, music. Every dollar counts.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Bolduc said if a TIF surplus is declared and distributed directly to schools, it could have an significant and immediate impact.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you do the math and you take $25 million divided by 400,000 students, we&rsquo;re looking at about $62 per student,&rdquo; Bolduc said. &ldquo;At Blaine, we have about 950 students, so Blaine would see maybe $60,000. That&rsquo;s a teaching position for us. So that&rsquo;s no small amount.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Experts say the fact parents and activists look to the TIF surplus and other TIF reforms speaks to how massive and unwieldy Chicago&rsquo;s TIF program is.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve created a monster in some ways,&rdquo; said Rachel Weber, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studied TIFs extensively and sat on Emanuel&rsquo;s TIF Task Force a couple of years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This program that started off as kind of an obscure way to fund specific kinds of economic development has become a general redevelopment tool, and anybody and everybody who&rsquo;s doing anything and wants some money is now looking to TIFs instead of just looking to the city to help them.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ and covers education. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>. Alex Keefe is WBEZ&rsquo;s political reporter. Follow him at <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">@WBEZpolitics</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 15:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/chicago-public-schools-get-tif-surplus-impact-schools-unclear-109137 Morning Shift: What a TIF surplus would mean for schools and the city http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-12/morning-shift-what-tif-surplus-would-mean-schools-and <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/progress illinois flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ&#39;s Becky Vevea and Alex Keefe help us break down the often confusing-and always controversial- TIF program in Chicago. We also hear from a survivor of Kristallnacht on its 75th anniversary - the night that many consider the start of the Holocaust.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-where-tif-funds-are-going/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-where-tif-funds-are-going.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-where-tif-funds-are-going" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: What a TIF surplus would mean for schools and the city " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-12/morning-shift-what-tif-surplus-would-mean-schools-and Morning Shift: TIFs and Red Line reconstruction http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-20/morning-shift-tifs-and-red-line-reconstruction-107264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_JeraSue.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-tif-n-ride-on-the-cta.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-tif-n-ride-on-the-cta" target="_blank">View the story "The Morning Shift: TIFs and South Siders lose their rides on the CTA" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Mon, 20 May 2013 07:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-20/morning-shift-tifs-and-red-line-reconstruction-107264 Chicago launches new round of TIF reforms http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-01/chicago-launches-new-round-tif-reforms-96015 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-01/TIF reports 2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week the latest round of Tax Increment Finance, or TIF, reforms. TIFs are an economic tool meant to spur development. But for some, there's a rub. The property tax dollars collected in these districts don't always go to schools, parks, the county or other taxing bodies. They go to the TIF fund, where the Mayor and City Council decide how this money gets spent.<br> <br> <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>discussed the details of TIF reform with Carole Brown, Chair of <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/mayor/Press%20Room/Press%20Releases/2011/August/8.29.11TIFReport.pdf" target="_blank">Chicago's TIF Reform Task Force</a>, and <em>Chicago Reader</em> senior writer Mick Dumke, who has <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-chicago-reader-tif-archive/Content?oid=1180567" target="_blank">covered TIFs and the politics around them</a>.</p></p> Wed, 01 Feb 2012 15:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-01/chicago-launches-new-round-tif-reforms-96015 At Emanuel budget forum, TIF question raises roof http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-budget-forum-tif-question-raises-roof-91374 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-01/Rahm2.JPG_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The questions Wednesday night ranged from potholes to bus fares, from school-day hours to traffic-aide layoffs. But nothing roused the crowd like the city’s 165 tax-increment-financing districts, which draw off half-a-billion property-tax dollars a year for economic development.</p><p>About 700 people overflowed a gym at Malcolm X College on Chicago’s West Side for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second public meeting on a city budget gap he says will top $635 million.</p><p>Ashley Moy-Wooten of the Chicago-based Grassroots Collaborative told the mayor too many TIF dollars have gone to big companies like United Airlines.</p><p>“Would you commit to not giving any money to these giant corporations?” she asked, provoking the evening’s biggest round of applause. “And would you commit to shutting down these downtown TIFs?”</p><p>Emanuel made no promises but said it was “wrong” for the big companies to get TIF funds when neighborhoods were suffering. “I can’t reverse the past,” the mayor added. “I have to shape the future. That’s why I created a new standard that we finally have.”</p><p>Emanuel said a TIF overhaul proposed this week by a panel he appointed would bring more transparency and jobs.</p><p>The 90-minute forum followed a similar event Monday evening at Kennedy-King College on the city’s South Side.</p></p> Thu, 01 Sep 2011 05:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-budget-forum-tif-question-raises-roof-91374 Emanuel hypes reform of TIF program http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-hypes-reform-tif-program-91217 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wants to reform the city's tax increment financing program. The mayor called for transparency and accountability in the program, and for TIF dollars to only be spent as part of a larger, long-term economic plan. The mayor said he would be working with World Business Chicago, his economic council, non-profit leaders and the city council to craft that plan.</p><p>The mayor responded Monday to a <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/mayor/Press%20Room/Press%20Releases/2011/August/8.29.11TIFReport.pdf">list of suggested reforms</a> put together by a panel that he hand-selected back in May. Emanuel said the program is "shrouded in secrecy."</p><p>"This report allows TIFs to be what I think it can be and all that it could be, and it hasn't been in the past," he said. "We'll get the trust by being fully transparent and up front with the public, we'll have a strategy, we'll be accountable for making sure that individual projects -- as well as the overall TIF -- will be achieving what it was set out to achieve."</p><p>Tax increment financing uses taxpayer funds for city-selected projects meant to promote private or public investment. The funds are generated after the city declares a certain area a TIF district--the amount of property tax the area usually generates is frozen as a base amount for 23 years, and any growth above that amount counts as TIF dollars.</p><p>The 10 member panel suggested that any and all information about TIF projects should be posted online. The group says each project--both those already planned and potential projects--should have a dashboard online that details how long the project has left, how much it costs, etc. They suggest a system that shows the progress pf each project.</p><p>The group also suggested that a government body be charged with overseeing TIFs. The group would be set thresholds to judge the success of the project, and would hold the city accountable for meeting these thresholds. They suggest five year reviews of TIFs, as well as annual reports of each project.</p><p>Member Laurence Msall, director of the Civic Federation, said this could mean the closing of some TIF projects.</p><p>"There are plenty of TIF districts out there that are going to fall under the five year review that are going to [have] a hard time justifying that they're having the impact that they intended to," Msall said. "And then the city can make the decision by closing down those projects or closing down those districts because the funds are better spent at higher priority areas."</p><p>David Morrison of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said the plan could shed light on an area that's been kept in the dark for a long time, but he's unsure it will be fleshed out completely.</p><p>"This looks to be a step forward, but I don't understand yet how far that's gonna go, how thorough it's gonna be, how much the public's really gonna learn before decisions are made," Morrison said.</p></p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-hypes-reform-tif-program-91217 Crime issue boils in some ward races, simmers in others http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//24th Ward forum 2cropped.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans who punch cards for their favorite aldermanic candidates might have the issue of crime on their minds. But depending on where they live, they will have heard more&mdash;or less&mdash;about crime from their candidates. Talk of crime is loud on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, where there&rsquo;s relatively little violence. And some say there&rsquo;s complacency among candidates in West Side neighborhoods, where there&rsquo;s more crime. Two WBEZ bureau reporters, Odette Yousef and Chip Mitchell, look at this mismatch between crime and election talk. We start with Odette on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.<strong><br /></strong><br />AMBI: Ready? Front! At ease.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Thirty or so police officers from the Rogers Park police district are on hand for an outdoor roll call. They&rsquo;re at Warren Park on a freezing night.<br /><br />AMBI: Twenty-four oh five, Twenty-four twelve...<br /><br />YOUSEF: Normally, police hold roll calls inside the district station. But 50th Ward Ald. Bernard Stone asked them to do it here this time.<br /><br />STONE: On behalf of the entire 50th Ward, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do for us.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Usually, shows like this only happen when a jarring crime rocks a neighborhood. The police and community all come out to show criminals that law-abiding citizens still own the streets. But no major incident has happened recently in this police district. Ald. Stone is running for reelection. One of his opponents thinks that&rsquo;s the real reason he called this show of force: A little politics before a scheduled CAPS meeting. CAPS is the city&rsquo;s community policing program.<br /><br />MOSES: I was very disappointed in Ald. Stone trying to take CAPS and make it a political event. CAPS and politics do not mix.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So candidate Michael Moses leaves after the roll call. But he&rsquo;s the only one. The other four candidates all stay through the meeting. It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly how residents and politicians in the Rogers Park police district should feel about crime, because the stats are kind of all over the place. In 2010, general &ldquo;violent crime&rdquo; in the district fell more than 5 percent from the previous year but murder went up 75 percent. In another North Side police district, murder increased 400 percent. But consider this: That&rsquo;s from only one murder the previous year. So, we&rsquo;re talking about five murders in one North Side district in 2010. But some West and South side police districts saw dozens of murders last year. Still, crime is one of the top issues in North Side races.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: Too often the media and everybody in this business, we talk about violent crime rate in Chicago. And the reality is that crime is more complex and neighborhood disorder is complex.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Dennis Rosenbaum. He&rsquo;s a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Rosenbaum says even when violent crime may be low, residents feel fearful when they or their neighbors are victims of lesser offenses, like graffiti, car breakins, and auto theft. And, that fear translates into politics.<br /><br />ROSENBAUM: In times of fear and external threat, we tend to turn to authority figures to give us guidance. So it&rsquo;s a way of taking control over issues.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Rosenbaum says it&rsquo;s little wonder North Side politicians are talking about nonviolent crime&mdash;after all, their constituents take it seriously. But there&rsquo;s another reason why North Side candidates are talking crime and safety. For two years, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has advocated so-called beat realignment. It would involve redrawing maps of where cops patrol, so there&rsquo;d be more officers and cars in high-crime areas. One fear is that the North Side would lose officers to the West and South sides, where there&rsquo;s more violent crime. Previous efforts to realign beats have fallen flat, but there are rumors Weis is still trying to make it happen. Weis declined to confirm those rumors for WBEZ this week, but here&rsquo;s what he told us a couple months ago.<br /><br />WEIS: What we think by moving people around from districts that are not necessarily the quietest districts, but districts that have an abundance of police officers, we think we can move them over to the districts that are shorter, we can start attacking the whole image of Chicago.<br /><br />YOUSEF: The future of beat realignment in Chicago is unclear. For one, the two frontrunners in the mayoral race are against it. And they say they want to dump Supt. Weis. Still, North Side aldermanic candidates continue to talk about realignment and run against it. One of them is Michael Carroll. He&rsquo;s running in the North Side&rsquo;s 46th Ward. He&rsquo;s also a cop.<br /><br />CARROLL: As a police officer, I know, absolutely, putting more police officers in high-crime areas to bring down the crime rate works. However, I have a very hard time sending our police assets from our community, when we have a clear problem with gang activity and violence somewhere else.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Carroll says his ward has pockets of violent crime that are just as bad as parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West or South sides. He fears losing cops on the North Side would make those places more dangerous. Carroll&rsquo;s opponents are pretty much of the same mind. Most want the city to hire more officers, rather than shift existing officers around. But those same candidates concede that could be tough because the city&rsquo;s faced with a $600 million deficit. Not many have detailed roadmaps for how they&rsquo;d overcome that tricky problem. But in the 48th Ward, one candidate does. It&rsquo;s Harry Osterman.<br /><br />OSTERMAN: What I&rsquo;d like to try to do is see if we can modify state law to use dollars for public safety. There&rsquo;s a surplus in TIF funds for the city of Chicago, and potentially using some of that to hire police officers is something that I think would be worthwhile.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Osterman&rsquo;s goal of hiring more police is popular on the North Side. But using TIFs to get there may be less so. Tax increment financing districts have a bad reputation for being slush funds. So, maybe it&rsquo;s telling that Osterman wants to use them. On the North Side at least, the debate about crime and safety is so loud that candidates will turn to whatever tools are around to ensure police resources stay put. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell at WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau. The political talk about crime is a lot different in this part of Chicago. Not many aldermanic candidates are hollering for more patrol officers. There are some loud voices on the issue. They&rsquo;re regular folks or community activists, like a woman named Serethea Reid. She moved into the Austin neighborhood a couple years ago.<br /><br />REID: There were people on the corner, drinking, selling alcohol out of the trunks of their cars&mdash;partying, loud music&mdash;two blocks from the police station.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): So what have you done about it?<br /><br />REID: I started by calling the police. We&rsquo;d call, wait 10 minutes, call, wait 10 minutes, call. And the police were not coming.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid started attending local meetings of CAPS, the community-policing program. She soon noticed a stronger police presence near her house, but she wanted more help for the rest of Austin. So, last summer, Reid formed a group called the Central Austin Neighborhood Association. It meets in a church.<br /><br />AMBI: Today, I wanted, I was going to start with reviewing and sharing what our mission is....<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid&rsquo;s group shepherds Austin residents to Police Board meetings, where they demand better service. She&rsquo;s writing various Chicago agencies for data to see if police response times are slower in Austin than in other neighborhoods. And Reid wants information about that beat-realignment idea police Supt. Jody Weis talks about.<br /><br />REID: All the responses I&rsquo;ve gotten were that it was going to take a few months before he&rsquo;s done: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not finalized. We can&rsquo;t talk about it because he&rsquo;s working on it.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL: Reid says she feels like officials are giving her the runaround. She says her alderman isn&rsquo;t helping much either. That&rsquo;s despite the fact that it&rsquo;s election season, when politicians tend to speak up about nearly everything. So I&rsquo;ve been checking out West Side campaign events to see whether aldermanic candidates are pushing for police beat realignment.<br /><br />AMBI: I want to say thank you to each and every one of you candidates. Let&rsquo;s give them a round of applause.<br /><br />MITCHELL: This is a high-school auditorium in North Lawndale. Sixteen candidates crowd onto the stage to explain why they would be the best 24th Ward alderman. The forum lasts more than two hours, but not one of the candidates brings up the idea of realigning police beats or other ways to bring in officers from lower-crime areas. After the forum, I ask incumbent Sharon Denise Dixon why.<br /><br />DIXON: I can&rsquo;t answer that question for you, but that is a very good question. I can&rsquo;t answer it but it certainly should have been on the radar here, seeing that Lawndale is a high-crime area with lots of homicides and drug activity, etc. So that should definitely be a concern.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve reached out to aldermanic incumbents in five West Side wards with a lot of crime. All of the aldermen express interest in shifting police to high-crime neighborhoods. But none is trying to organize any sort of campaign to make it happen. In the 29th Ward, Ald. Deborah Graham points out that any organizing would meet resistance from people in low-crime areas.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Some of our aldermen on the north end [of the city] are fearful of losing their police officers.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Graham wishes police Supt. Jody Weis would lay out his plan and build public support for it.<br /><br />GRAHAM: Having a clear understanding of why we need the realignment&mdash;to ease their discomfort of possibly losing squad cars&mdash;would be very helpful.<br /><br />MITCHELL: But there may be another reason why so few West Side candidates are pressing the issue. 24th Ward challenger Valerie Leonard says many constituents don&rsquo;t want more officers.<br /><br />LEONARD: Talk to younger people, especially on the street. They say they&rsquo;re scared of the police. They say that the police are always picking on them and...<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene): It&rsquo;s not a winning campaign issue.<br /><br />LEONARD: That&rsquo;s true, given the history.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The history includes a point in 2003, when Mayor Daley was running for reelection. He promised to realign police beats. That riled aldermen of lower-crime wards, including some on the North Side. After the election, Daley backed away from his promise. Instead of realigning beats, his administration set up elite police teams to rove across large swaths of the city, from one crime hotspot to another. That way, the low-crime areas didn&rsquo;t have to give up patrol cops. One reporter called it the path of least resistance. But Chicago police SWAT officer Erick von Kondrat points to a downside.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: These teams out there&mdash;whether they&rsquo;re area gang teams or some of the other citywide teams that move from district to district on a need-by-need basis&mdash;they don&rsquo;t have that opportunity on a day-to-day basis to make the connections that are really going to bolster the trust between the community and the police department.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Officer Von Kondrat says distrust in the police partly explains why West Side aldermen don&rsquo;t campaign for more beat officers. But he says there&rsquo;s another reason. He noticed it when he was a 24th Ward candidate himself (before a challenge to his nominating papers knocked him off the ballot).<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: A lot of these incumbents, because Mayor Daley is leaving, they don&rsquo;t really know what they&rsquo;re going to be stepping into at this point in time.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Again, the mayoral frontrunners don&rsquo;t support beat realignment. So, Von Kondrat figures, no West Side alderman can afford to be on the new mayor&rsquo;s bad side.<br /><br />VON KONDRAT: Going against that force is probably not in your best interest. It wouldn&rsquo;t make much sense to bring that issue up.<br /><br />MITCHELL: The beat-realignment idea has stalled, time and again, since the 1970s. The alternative would be to hire more cops for high-crime areas. That&rsquo;s basically what the top mayoral candidates are suggesting. In this economic climate, though, it&rsquo;s not clear what option the city can afford: financing a larger police department or shifting around the cops it already has. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/24th-ward/crime-issue-boils-some-ward-races-simmers-others Chicago City Council shelves voting on affordable housing ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/chicago-city-council-shelves-voting-affordable-housing-ordinance <p><p>A proposed ordinance to designate more affordable housing won&rsquo;t happen before the Feb. 22 Chicago municipal election.</p> <div>For months, Ald. Walter Burnett has sought a vote on the Sweet Home Chicago ordinance, which would designate 20 percent of tax increment finance dollars, or TIFs, toward affordable housing and rehabbing foreclosed properties. At the city council meeting on Wednesday, there was a vote - but not on the actual ordinance. In a 28-19 vote, the council decided to delay the vote until next month.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;They got another move on me,&rdquo; Burnett said of Mayor Richard Daley&rsquo;s administration, which has been pushing its own version of the ordinance that asks for less affordable housing.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not over though,&rdquo; Burnett said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to keep fighting. We&rsquo;re not going to give up. We can&rsquo;t give up when there are more and more people going into foreclosure every day. We gotta keep fighting for the people.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>City council members are up for re-election later this month. Burnett said he thought some of his colleagues were avoiding a vote until after the election.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Hundreds of Sweet Home Chicago supporters showed up at city hall, chanting &ldquo;shame on you&rdquo; to the city council.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 09 Feb 2011 22:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/chicago-city-council-shelves-voting-affordable-housing-ordinance Open Meeting Act thwarts affordable housing ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/news/open-meeting-act-thwarts-affordable-housing-ordinance <p><p><span style="color: black;">An affordable housing measure in Chicago City Council got delayed again &ndash; this time for an open government violation.</span></p><p><span style="color: black;">Ald. Walter Burnett had sought a council vote Thursday on Sweet Home Chicago. The measure would designate 20 percent of tax increment finance dollars, of TIFs, toward affordable housing and rehabbing foreclosed properties. But Ald. Ed Burke objected to releasing the measure for a vote because Burnett did not give 48-hours notice, per Illinois&rsquo; Open Meetings Act. Mayor Richard Daley also said state law needed to be followed. Burnett countered that city code stipulates there has to be 24-hours notice.</span></p> <div><span style="color: black;">&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;re playing a game of chess. Unfortunately, we&rsquo;re playing a game of chess with peoples&rsquo; livelihoods, with peoples&rsquo; housing,&rdquo; Burnett said. &ldquo;All we&rsquo;re asking for is a piece of the pie of the TIF money so we can be able to acquire some of these foreclosed properties and build affordable housing in the city of Chicago.&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">A council roll-call vote backed Burke and Daley.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">Sweet Home Chicago has languished in city council for more than a year. Opponents had sought to weaken the measure by lowering the percentage of TIF funds that would be applied to the program or, alternatively, stripping the measure of mandates for developers. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">Burnett said there would&rsquo;ve been enough votes to pass the language on Thursday. &ldquo;Do you think we did not have the votes?&rdquo; he asked. &ldquo;Why would you think they would not let us bring it up for a vote if we didn&rsquo;t have the votes?&rdquo;</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">Daley said he has no opinion on Sweet Home Chicago and didn&rsquo;t block the vote for political reasons.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t stop it. When someone brings up the violation of the Open Meetings Act, you have to respond to it. You cannot be silent on it,&rdquo; Daley said.</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="color: black;">During the council meeting, Ald. Joe Moore cited instances when the city council took votes with only 24-hours notice. He said, strictly speaking, aldermen didn&rsquo;t give enough notice before they overturned one of his high-profile ordinances: the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-foie-gras-ban-perspective,0,3199140.story">ban on foie gras</a>. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 13 Jan 2011 22:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/open-meeting-act-thwarts-affordable-housing-ordinance