WBEZ | Danny Solis http://www.wbez.org/tags/danny-solis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Metal shredder proposed for Pilsen clears zoning hurdle http://www.wbez.org/news/metal-shredder-proposed-pilsen-clears-zoning-hurdle-109755 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NuestroPilsenSCALED.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 212px; width: 300px;" title="Before a Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Friday, neighborhood residents in favor of the facility tout the jobs it would create and downplay environmental concerns. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />A proposed metal shredder near a high school on Chicago&rsquo;s Southwest Side&nbsp;has cleared a key hurdle.</p><p>The city&rsquo;s Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Friday night to approve a special-use application for the project, according to Peter Strazzabosco, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, which provides the board&rsquo;s staffing.</p><p>Board chairman Jonathan Swain and members Catherine Budzinski and Sol Flores were present for the closed-door vote, Strazzabosco said.</p><p>The application came from Pure Metal Recycling, LLC, a company with ties to Acme Metal Refinery, a major contributor to a campaign fund controlled by Pilsen&rsquo;s alderman, Danny Solis (25th). Acme was in the public eye last August after the Internal Revenue Service raided the company&rsquo;s Bridgeport headquarters.</p><p>Solis endorsed the proposed Pilsen metal shredder in a letter presented to the zoning board Friday.</p><p>The board vote followed more than four hours of testimony. Rev. Emma Lozano, an immigrant-rights advocate and pastor of nearby Lincoln United Methodist, led neighborhood residents in favor of the metal shredder.</p><p>&ldquo;The residents of Pilsen, including the members of my church, want Pilsen to be a place where we can both live and work,&rdquo; Lozano told the board, noting the neighborhood&rsquo;s creeping gentrification. &ldquo;We want to live in a community which is mixed &mdash; residential and manufacturing.&rdquo;</p><p>Mark Swedlow, Pure Metal Recycling&rsquo;s president, last week signed a one-page &ldquo;covenant&rdquo; with Solis and community residents. In the document, the company vows to give &ldquo;first priority in hiring to Pilsen residents&rdquo; and to not discriminate against them &ldquo;because of immigration status or past criminal records.&rdquo;</p><p>The metal shredder would stand on a 15-acre industrial parcel along South Loomis Avenue just south of West Cermak Road. The land is across the road from Benito Juárez Community Academy, the neighborhood&rsquo;s biggest high school.</p><p>The project&rsquo;s opponents, including the Pilsen Alliance and the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO), are complaining about Acme&rsquo;s record in Bridgeport and warning that metal shredders are known for pollution, fires and explosions. They are also voicing concerns about increased traffic and noise.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want another Sims in the neighborhood,&rdquo; PERRO organizer Jerry Mead-Lucero said, referring to an existing Pilsen metal shredder owned by Australian-based Sims Metal Management.</p><p>Pilsen environmentalists led a campaign to close Fisk Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant that had operated in the neighborhood for more than a century. In 2012, California-based Edison International shut down Fisk and a coal-fired generator in nearby Little Village.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 21:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/metal-shredder-proposed-pilsen-clears-zoning-hurdle-109755 Chicago remap vote could come this week as Hispanic Caucus OKs compromise http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-remap-vote-could-come-week-hispanic-caucus-oks-compromise-95605 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-17/IMG_1138.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen will sit for a final public meeting Wednesday before moving ahead with plans to re-draw the city's ward boundaries - perhaps as soon as Thursday. This comes after the City Council's Hispanic Caucus took a private vote in support a compromise plan.</p><p>At a City Hall hearing Tuesday afternoon, Rules Committee Chair Dick Mell (33rd) - the leader of the redistricting process - told a crowd of concerned residents that no one will be happy with the final map, not even the aldermen.</p><p>"We'll have to make new friends in a lot of cases, and make new constituents," Mell said. "And we'll lose a lot of old constituents, and a lot of old friends."</p><p>Mell has been working behind the scenes to craft a compromise that would win support from 41 aldermen, enough to avoid sending the issue to voters in a referendum. He said Tuesday afternoon that he'd reach that number if the council's Latino Caucus signed on.</p><p>And in a meeting that evening, the eight Hispanic aldermen came to an agreement, according to the caucus' chair, 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis.</p><p>"They said they would support it," Solis said in an interview following the meeting. "The only issue that was a little bit still in question [was] timing."</p><p>Solis said some members of the caucus wanted to delay a vote on the map until next week, but he said that would not be a dealbreaker.</p><p>The full City Council is scheduled to vote on the map in a special meeting on Thursday, immediately following a Rules Committee meeting. But if two or more aldermen use a parliamentary maneuver to "defer and publish," the vote could be delayed a week or longer.</p><p>The compromise now under discussion is based largely on a proposal originally put forward by the council's Black Caucus, but there has been tinkering to some boundaries. It would include 13 wards where Hispanics make up a comfortable majority of the voting age population, and 18 for black Chicagoans.</p><p>Solis also said he believes a "majority" of the eight white aldermen who signed on to his caucus' original proposal - including Alds. John Pope, James Balcer (11th) and Michele Smith (43rd) - would support the compromise, making Mell's quest for 41 votes all the easier.</p><p>That new map has not been made public or filed with the city clerk's office. But, according to Solis, the Hispanic aldermen want to make details of it available during Wednesday night's hearing at North-Grand High School on the city's West Side.</p></p> Tue, 17 Jan 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-remap-vote-could-come-week-hispanic-caucus-oks-compromise-95605 Breakthrough on Chicago remap deal? http://www.wbez.org/story/breakthrough-chicago-remap-deal-95465 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/2Solis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The head of the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus said on Wednesday that a deal is closer than ever before on the contentious re-drawing of ward boundaries. The possible breakthrough comes after a compromise offer was extended to break the stalemate.</p><p>Ald. Danny Solis (22nd), the Latino Caucus chair, said he got a call on Tuesday from Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), a Mayor Rahm Emanuel ally who's been closely involved in the mapping. Solis said the proposal includes much of a map drawn by the council's Black Caucus, but said it appears to roughly meet his demand that Hispanics get comfortable majorities in 13 wards.</p><p>Solis said he thinks his caucus would accept the compromise, if they're confident it would survive a lawsuit.</p><p>"We want...an expert to come in who has analyzed maps like this across the country - to come analyze and evaluate the map, and then tell us we would be avoiding that," Solis said.</p><p>The Latino Caucus next meets on Friday.</p><p>The new offer focused on the Southwest Side's 23rd ward. Now represented by a white alderman, Mike Zalewski, Hispanics would represent more than 60 percent of the voting age population under the new boundaries.</p><p>The Black Caucus chair, 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins, said he "absolutely" supports the compromise, and doesn't have a problem with Solis' demand for a legal review. Neither does O'Connor.</p><p>"It's always been anticipated that we would have some indication from a competent authority that [the final] map...is defensible," O'Connor said.</p><p>The council could vote on a map as early as its meeting on January 18th.</p><p>"I think [a vote then] is a real potential, but I'm not going to hurry the process through some sort of an artificial deadline," O'Connor said. "If it's not ready, it's not ready."</p><p>Public hearings on previously introduced map proposals begin Wednesday night, with a meeting in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Another is scheduled for Thursday in Bridgeport.</p></p> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 20:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/breakthrough-chicago-remap-deal-95465 City's ward remap drawing more battle lines than boundaries http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-16/citys-ward-remap-drawing-more-battle-lines-boundaries-94965 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-16/3683_75d13a813ebe85f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>City Hall was tense Thursday and more political maneuvering was expected Friday. Aldermen have been fighting for electoral survival as they redraw the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/about/wards.html" target="_blank">city’s ward boundaries</a>, which they have to do every 10 years using new census data. But demographic shifts have made this decade’s debate more difficult than in the past. WBEZ’s political reporter <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/sam-hudzik" target="_blank">Sam Hudzik</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about the map-making mess.</p><p><em>Music Button: 11 Acorn Lane, "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", from the album Happy Holy Days, (self released)</em></p></p> Fri, 16 Dec 2011 14:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-16/citys-ward-remap-drawing-more-battle-lines-boundaries-94965 Public debate begins over Chicago's ward redistricting http://www.wbez.org/story/public-debate-begins-over-chicagos-ward-redistricting-92193 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/mapfix.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A stand-off over the racial and ethnic makeup of Chicago's City Council got going Monday with a proposal from its Black Caucus.&nbsp;The group proposed new ward boundaries favorable to its 19 members.</p><div><p>The most recent Census data show that Chicago has lost nearly 180,000 African American residents in the past 10 years.&nbsp;That's the equivalent of more than three seats on the City Council.</p><p>But the caucus has drawn a ward map that could protect its members.</p><p>"The African American community basically lives in certain areas. So they are still concentrated in particular areas where we were able to draw 19 African American wards," said former Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, the group's lawyer.</p><p>That's a loss of one majority black ward from the map drawn in 2001, though that seat is no longer represented by an African American alderman.&nbsp;</p><p>"The goals of the black caucus were to maintain the maximum number that the law would permit us of African American representation," said Ald. Howard Brookins, caucus chair.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">The release of these draft boundaries sets up a clash between the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus, whose members say there needs to be a substantial increase in the number of majority Hispanic wards.</p><p>The Black Caucus map tentatively includes&nbsp;an increase of two wards where Hispanics have a voting-age majority.&nbsp;That's not enough for Ald. Danny Solis, chair of the Hispanic Caucus.</p><p>"I have to study it a little bit more, but I don't think it really reflects the population increase of the Hispanic population," Solis said Monday afternoon.</p><p>The city's Hispanic population grew by about 25,000 in the past decade.&nbsp;Solis said his caucus will hold public meetings before unveiling its own map.</p><p>These proposals are the opening offers in redistricting negotiations.&nbsp;Ten years ago, most aldermen agreed on a compromise, but past redistricting efforts have ended in lengthy legal disputes.</p></div></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/public-debate-begins-over-chicagos-ward-redistricting-92193 Solis hangs on in 25th after power plant flip-flop http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/solis-hangs-25th-after-power-plant-flip-flop-84808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/1Solis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Ald. Danny Solis hung on in his 25th Ward runoff Tuesday. But the defeated candidate says he too has reason to celebrate.<br> <br> Solis did not support a proposal for the city to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants — he didn't, that is, until he fell short in the election’s first round and landed in the runoff.<br> <br> Solis says he needed to get in tune with constituents upset about the Fisk Generating Station, a coal-fired plant in Pilsen, a largely Mexican neighborhood in the ward. The flip-flop seems to have sealed his reelection.<br> <br> “I am committed to passing the Clean [Power] Ordinance in the city of Chicago,” Solis told his supporters Tuesday night after winning about 54 percent of the runoff vote.<br> <br> The losing candidate, Cuahutémoc Morfin, took credit: “We made him come to the right side of the issue in the environmental issue, which is the coal plant here, which pollutes the air that we breathe.”<br> <br> With Solis behind the power-plant proposal, it has a better chance of passing the City Council.</p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 08:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/solis-hangs-25th-after-power-plant-flip-flop-84808 Chinatown closer to new field house, library http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/chinatown-closer-new-field-house-library <p><p>Chinatown residents are inching closer to winning some city resources that they&rsquo;ve lobbied for during the last several years.&nbsp;Chicago&rsquo;s City Council <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/news.detail/object_id/00c4ff41-589f-47dd-93df-17a5e68a8219.cfm">allocated funding</a> in September for a new field house to replace one that was torn down nearly 50 years ago. More recently, the <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/">Chicago Public Library</a> and city officials identified a site for a new library branch and have started moving to acquire the property.&nbsp;The progress comes just as Chinese-Americans observe their 100-year anniversary in Chicago&rsquo;s South Side Chinatown.</p><p>The field house has been a particular sore point for young and elderly Chinatown residents alike. &ldquo;When I started fighting for this thing I had children,&rdquo; said Leonard Louie, President of the Ping Tom Memorial Park Advisory Council. &ldquo;And I think today my grandchildren are old enough to be able to use it. That's how long it's been.&rdquo;</p> <div>Louie himself used to play basketball at the old field house at Hardin Park, before the state tore it down in 1962 to expand the Dan Ryan Expressway. At the time, said Louie, Chinatown residents were promised that they&rsquo;d soon get another field house. Instead, Louie and other residents say children now often play volleyball over sidewalk fences, because there&rsquo;s no proper facility or community center. &ldquo;It's definitely a problem because you just have kids hanging out on the street and looking for things to do,&rdquo; said Louie. &ldquo;You're in a situation where you're just asking for trouble.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Chicago City Council approved a $10 million allocation from the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/narratives/T_037_RiverSouthFA.pdf">River South TIF District</a> to finally build the facility near the southern end of <a href="http://pingtompark.org/Welcome%20to%20Ping%20Tom%20Park.html">Ping Tom Memorial Park</a>.&nbsp;At that price, park leaders will likely have to pare back their original vision for the facility.&nbsp;&ldquo;The original plans for the field house were to include a natatorium, which is an indoor swimming pool,&rdquo; said Louie.&nbsp;But park district officials estimate that could cost anywhere from $15 million to $18 million. More recent field houses, like the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.results.cfm">Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park</a> and <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/cc227392-429c-42df-adec-bdb4023e94de.cfm">Jesse Owens Park</a>, did not include swimming pools, and ran just below $10 million. Still, Louie hopes whatever the city builds could be expanded to include a swimming pool later. He and other park leaders are also exploring the possibility of raising additional money to fund the natatorium.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Calls for a new library have also reached the right ears. Though the current Chinatown library is far from large, it has among the highest circulation rates in the city. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very literate community,&rdquo; said Chicago Public Library spokesman Ruth Lednicer.&nbsp;For a long time, movement toward building a larger and newer facility was stymied by an inability to find a proper site. But now Chinatown and city officials agree that a privately-owned lot on the southwest corner of Wentworth Ave and Archer Ave holds enough space.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Right now, the parcel holds a parking lot and a small grocery store, both owned by the same person. The city&rsquo;s development committee recently approved a preliminary move to acquire the property through eminent domain.&nbsp;That matter is expected to come before the City Council at its meeting on February 9.&nbsp;But officials will also continue to negotiate with the property owner, who expressed an interest in jointly developing the land with the city to include a library.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.dannysolis.org/">Alderman Daniel Solis</a> (25th Ward) said he&rsquo;s working on getting a TIF district approved to fund the construction of the library.&nbsp;&ldquo;Specifically how much, it&rsquo;s too early to tell,&rdquo; said Solis. &ldquo;But the TIF would also look at opening up opportunities for other developments in the area.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>These developments are perhaps some of the early fruits of a recent political awakening in Chicago&rsquo;s Chinatown.&nbsp;C.W. Chan, a founder of the <a href="http://www.caslservice.org/">Chinese American Service League</a>, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/chinatown-looks-centennial-aims-political-clout">told WBEZ</a> in May that as the Chinese-American population in Chinatown and its surrounding areas grew quickly during the last twenty years, the community&rsquo;s needs grew, too. &ldquo;Recently the community has really been working very hard together to really take an inventory of our community needs,&rdquo; said Chan, &ldquo;and to see whether we can really have a much better working relationship with our elected officials to present our needs and to secure the kind of resources that we need in the community.&rdquo; &nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 21:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/chinatown-closer-new-field-house-library