WBEZ | alderman http://www.wbez.org/tags/alderman Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Honeybees dying off http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-14/morning-shift-honeybees-dying-112027 <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/majamarko.jpg" style="height: 286px; width: 600px;" title="Flickr/majamarko" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460766&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">NAMI will train aldermen on how to talk about mental health</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">It may not seem like the first call, but often aldermen and their staff can be on the front lines of talking to residents about mental health. With the closure of Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, the calls could be coming more frequently. The Kennedy Forum Illinois, an organization working to spread awareness and fight stigmatization against mental illness, gathered aldermen and other public officials to discuss spotting signs of mental illness and how to properly train staff to talk to residents. Ald. James Cappleman of the 46th Ward is one of the aldermen who attended. We talk to him about what he hears from those seeking help.&nbsp;</p></div><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="https://twitter.com/JamesCappleman">James Cappleman</a> is Alderman of the 46th Ward.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460762&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Pipeline lawsuit</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">In 2010 oil giant Enbridge spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil into Kalamazoo Rver in Michigan. It was the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. Now, nearly five years later, the company has reached a $75 million settlement with the state. WBEZ&rsquo;s Shannon Heffernan explains why the spill is relevant to people in the Chicago region.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">Shannon Heffernan</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460748&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Calumet region meets to talk about environmental impacts</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Over the years, there&rsquo;s been somewhat of a rivalry between Illinois and Indiana. Indiana has made efforts to lure business away from Illinois and now Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to do the same. In reality, the two states have a lot more in common and share more than just a state border. In fact, leaders in both states are trying to designate portions of Chicago&rsquo;s South Side and parts of Northwest Indiana as the Calumet Region National Heritage Area. WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente talks about what that means.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">Michael Puente</a> is WBEZ&#39;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460739&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Honeybees dying off</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">As spring begins to bloom, many of us are accustomed to seeing more flowers, and with them, more bees. And for most beekeepers, spring usually means an influx in honey production. This year has been different. Honeybee keepers are familiar with expecting to lose around 10 percent of their hive colonies each year due to what&#39;s known as &quot;winter loss,&#39; but year&#39;s numbers shed light on an even larger decline, after the <a href="http://beeinformed.org/">Bee Informed Partnership</a> released its annual <a href="http://beeinformed.org/2015/05/colony-loss-2014-2015-preliminary-results/">colony loss survey</a> on Wednesday. Data from thousands of beekeepers around the country revealed an average loss of 42 percent of honeybee colonies. And in Illinois, the number was closer to 60 percent. While the fate of the honeybee might be dependent on the future of the environment, pesky mites or pesticides, we discuss how lower numbers of bees might be affecting things on a local level. Joining us with his thoughts is Beverly beekeeper and meadery owner, Greg Fischer.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/wildblossommead">Greg Fischer</a> is a beekeeper and owner of <a href="http://wildblossommeadery.com/">Wild Blossom Meadery &amp; Winery</a> in Beverly.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460734&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Play on religious intolerance</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">yA new play featuring the Holy Spirit, Einstein and Osama bin Laden takes on religious intolerance. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/theetrinitypremiere">Thee Trinity</a> opens next Friday at the <a href="http://www.waukeganparks.org/cultural-arts/jack-benny-center.htm">Jack Benny Center for the Arts</a> in Waukegan. It&rsquo;s a satire that spoofs religion, and goes so far as to include quotes from the Bible and the Quran. Playwright and documentary maker Rick Roberts tells us about his new work, and why he&rsquo;s tackling such a sensitive topic with dark humor.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/RichardARobert1">Rick Roberts</a> is a documentary film maker and playwright.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205460728&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Chicago Humanities Festival International Performance Festival for young audience</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The <a href="https://twitter.com/Chi_Humanities">Chicago Humanities Festival</a> wraps up its international performance festival for young audiences this weekend. Stages, Sights &amp; Sounds brings &ldquo;fresh, original performances&rdquo; from Canada, Europe and Chicago. CHF&rsquo;s Alison Cuddy joins us with details and a sneak peak of its fall <a href="http://chicagohumanities.org/">lineup</a>.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/alisoncuddy">Alison Cuddy</a> is the Chicago Humanities Festival&#39;s Artistic Director.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/unspeakablethtr">Marc Frost</a> is the founder of Theater Unspeakable.</em></p></p> Thu, 14 May 2015 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-05-14/morning-shift-honeybees-dying-112027 What’s in a name? Legacy aldermanic candidates defend 'The Chicago Way' http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/what%E2%80%99s-name-legacy-aldermanic-candidates-defend-chicago-way-111601 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_6865.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A few weeks ago, WGN news anchor Dan Ponce stood in front of a packed crowd in the echoey auditorium of Bateman Elementary School on Chicago&rsquo;s northwest side. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz1hhBIjy0o">He was there to moderate the 33rd ward aldermanic debate</a>, a ward that he himself lives in.</p><p>&ldquo;Machine politics and the Chicago way, legendary in this city,&rdquo; Ponce says to the three candidates. &ldquo;How will your office work to break from this influence?&rdquo;</p><p>By the end of this question, the audience, and one of the candidates Tim Meegan, burst into laughter, and likely for a few reasons. The first is the great irony of a member of the Ponce family answering this question: Phil Ponce is a longtime journalist on WTTW, and his two sons Dan and Anthony have both gone on to successful television careers themselves. The audience is also laughing because right next to Ponce and Meegan is incumbent alderman Deb Mell.</p><p>Mell was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last year to take over for her dad, former Ald. Richard Mell. He&rsquo;s a powerful guy on the Northwest Side (and that could be putting it lightly) -- he was alderman for 38 years before his daughter took over.</p><p>Tim Meegan gave the first answer to Ponce&rsquo;s question:</p><p>&ldquo;It needs to end. It needs to stop. Nepotism and political dynasties in this town are the problem with why we&rsquo;re all so unsatisfied,&rdquo; Meegan said to loud applause from the audience.</p><p>And the fear of &ldquo;nepotism&rdquo; that Meegan mentioned is at the core of why Chicagoans often shudder at the thought of political jobs staying in the family. The idea that power could be based on who you know, rather than what you know.</p><p>Turns out, this election cycle, there are eight candidates who are facing that criticism; Eight people, including incumbents and new candidates, who are running for alderman this year, but who are either related to or were married to a former alderman or mayor.</p><p>For incumbents, the list includes 34th ward and budget chairman alderman Carrie Austin. She took over for her husband when he died in 1994. Alderman Harry Osterman in the 48th ward followed in his mother&rsquo;s footsteps, while 39th ward Ald. Margaret Laurino and 14th ward Ald. Ed Burke followed their fathers. Roderick Sawyer, alderman in the 6th ward, is the son of the late Mayor Eugene Sawyer.</p><p>And this is the year that 38th ward Alderman Tim Cullerton retires -- making it the first time since the Great Chicago Fire that a Cullerton isn&rsquo;t working in City Hall.</p><p>But when you take a look at some of these newer candidates, how they&rsquo;re trying to combat that &ldquo;Chicago Way criticism&rdquo; varies completely.</p><p>When it became Deb Mell&rsquo;s turn to answer Ponce&rsquo;s question, she first expressed her love for her dad. But then, she brings up a recent Walgreens project as an example of how different the two are. She says her father didn&rsquo;t talk to any of the neighborhood groups about the project. Instead, he just went right ahead with it.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think that way,&rdquo; Mell said. &ldquo;I think our ward is too important to just throw stuff in there. And so I stopped the project, and that made for a very interesting Christmas, to be quite honest.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile in the 16th ward, on Chicago&rsquo;s south side, the candidate-family dynamic couldn&rsquo;t be clearer. Shirley Coleman was alderman of that ward for more than half of her daughter Stephanie&rsquo;s life. Now 27, Stephanie is running for the seat herself, and has pictures of her and her mother prominently displayed on everything from campaign mailers to <a href="https://instagram.com/p/yN0dEPvB4N/?modal=true">social media</a>.</p><p>Even her campaign slogan is a blatant reminder of where she comes from.</p><p>&ldquo;Built on proven leadership is a model and theme in this campaign, that look, what I may lack in age I gain in experience, I have someone who has mentored me who has 16 years of experience,&rdquo; Coleman said.</p><p>And almost to belabor the point - her mom happened to show up during our interview.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re just proud that this is the route that she chose, not I,&rdquo; Shirley Coleman said, laughing and smiling toward her daughter.</p><p>But what if you&rsquo;re running to represent a neighborhood that&rsquo;s steeped in family political history? What if the doors you&rsquo;re knocking on are in the ward that many consider the epicenter of nepotism and machine politics?</p><p>Those are the questions Patrick Daley Thompson faces as he drives his Jeep Cherokee through his community, the 11th ward.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very proud of my family, I&rsquo;m not running from my family, nor am I running on my family name. I&rsquo;m running. The fact is, my name is Patrick Daley Thompson,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>That means his Uncle Rich is Mayor Richard M. Daley. Thompson even lives at 35th and Lowe in the house his grandfather built. His grandfather, of course, is Mayor Richard J Daley. And Thompson knows well - that Daley name is something voters won&rsquo;t ignore - his opponents certainly haven&rsquo;t.</p><p>&ldquo;In this race in particular, yeah I&rsquo;ve heard by the other people about the old machine politics, and first of all I have no idea, that&rsquo;s like the 1920s they&rsquo;re talking about,&rdquo; Daley said. &ldquo;Our campaign is organized with people who have never been involved with political campaigns, ever.&rdquo;</p><p>One of his aldermanic opponents, Maureen Sullivan, a community activist and longtime Bridgeport resident, says another Daley in office means a return to the old &ldquo;machine style&rdquo; of politics.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just a different face, it&rsquo;s the same mechanism that&rsquo;s going to be operating this area, and they have an old school way of looking at things and we need someone who can look forward not backwards,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>But as Thompson drives around the neighborhood he&rsquo;s called home his whole life, his last name isn&rsquo;t what he wants to discuss. He&rsquo;d rather go through his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the ward: He knows every alley, every park, every development and he promptly points out every viaduct that needs repairing -- even suggesting potential partners to help him clean them up.</p><p>Thompson will say he wanted to run for office, not be appointed, and he says that he wasn&rsquo;t forced to do any of this. And besides, he adds: lots of families are this way.</p><p>&ldquo;For example at my law firm - there&rsquo;s a lot of people whose parents were lawyers. And their kids are lawyers. Because they&rsquo;ve seen what their parents do,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;In the media, there are a lot of fathers and daughters. You know, [like] Phil Ponce?&rdquo;</p><p>But lawyers or reporters - even the Ponces - aren&rsquo;t the ones responsible for delivering city services - or fixing the city&rsquo;s finances. And so experts say even if these candidates pass the first test of getting elected, the tough scrutiny or jabs about the Chicago way should not disappear overnight.</p><p>Former Alderman and now University of Illinois at Chicago political professor Dick Simpson says if these alderman deliver city services equally, and if they vote in the interests of their ward, rather than the mayor, and if they appoint people outside of their family circle, only then can voters overlook that their last -- or middle -- names have been seen many times before.<br /><br /><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s city politics reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 21 Feb 2015 12:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/what%E2%80%99s-name-legacy-aldermanic-candidates-defend-chicago-way-111601 Morning Shift: How can the Web be a better and safer place? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-23/morning-shift-how-can-web-be-better-and-safer-place <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Internet-Flickr-Asimetrica Juniper.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Web and social media can be used to spark positive, social chance. But it can also be plagued by bullies and trolls intent on bringing you down. We talk pros and cons of the Web and strategies to make it a safer place.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-dennis-farina-aldermanic-privilege-a.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-dennis-farina-aldermanic-privilege-a" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: How can the Web be a better and safer place? " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 23 Jul 2013 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-23/morning-shift-how-can-web-be-better-and-safer-place Lawyer: Ex-alderman never intended to bribe anyone http://www.wbez.org/news/lawyer-ex-alderman-never-intended-bribe-anyone-107530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP539271569510_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A former Chicago alderman&#39;s attorney has told jurors at a federal bribery trial in Chicago that his client never intended to bribe anyone.</p><p>Ambrosio Medrano and two businessmen are accused of paying bribe money to an undercover agent posing as a sale representative.</p><p>The agent allegedly told the men he&#39;d pass the money to a Los Angeles official who would supposedly take steps to ensure the men landed a lucrative pharmaceutical contract.</p><p>But it was all part of an FBI sting and the official didn&#39;t actually exist.</p><p>During his opening Tuesday, defense attorney Gal Pissetzky said Medrano never believed the official existed and never thought money paid to the agent was bribe money.</p><p>Medrano spent nearly two years in prison after pleading guilty in 1996 to a payoff scheme.</p></p> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawyer-ex-alderman-never-intended-bribe-anyone-107530 Majority of aldermen call for budget changes http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/CPL books.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A majority of Chicago's aldermen are calling for changes to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2012 city budget. They say his proposed budget cuts would hurt public safety and quality of life.</p><p>Twenty-eight of the city's 50 aldermen signed the letter to Mayor Emanuel.&nbsp; They say his plan to cut library hours would cause too many layoffs and negatively effect patrons who rely on the library.</p><p>"We're hearing it loud and clear, all across the city, from the West Side to the East Side to the North Side to the South Side," said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd). "Everybody's complaining about the cuts."</p><p>Fioretti said cutting library hours, as mayor Emanuel has proposed, would hurt kids and people who use the internet to search for jobs.</p><p>In addition to the library cuts, the 28 aldermen voiced other concerns.</p><p>The current budget proposal also consolidates 12 mental health clinics into six, and privatizes some health services. Aldermen say public clinics are vital for Chicago's neediest and must be protected.</p><p>Other concerns include the $10 million cut from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. That would eliminate fire and police dispatcher positions - and, aldermen say, endanger public safety.</p><p>The bloc says they also "have reservations" about the proposed near doubling of the fee for city stickers on SUVs. But aldermen recognize that the 2012 budget won't avoid cuts entirely, said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).</p><p>"'Cause somethin' have [sic] to give. And we're rational enough to understand that. But we just wanna see if we can balance the burden out a little bit more," Burnett said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel said he remains open to changing his proposed budget, as long as alderment identify other cuts or revenue sources to offset the ones they don't like.</p><p>"I hear them. It doesn't mean I agree. But it doesn't mean I disagree," Emanuel said. "And as I always said, not all signatures on a letter are created equal."</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 11:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/majority-aldermen-call-budget-changes-93680 Former aldermen explain what newly appointed city council members can expect http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-06/former-aldermen-explain-what-newly-appointed-city-council-members-can-ex <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/chicago city hall_inside.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As new and returning aldermen prepare to take their seats on the council, they could probably use some words of advice. Our next guests are well suited to do just that – familiar as they are with the City Council. Mary Ann Smith has presided over the 48th ward of Chicago for 22 years. She announced her retirement last year. Marty Oberman served as alderman of Chicago’s 43rd ward for 12 years.<br> <br> And, <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/" target="_blank">Chicago News Cooperative's </a>Hunter Clauss joined the conversation to discuss which aldermen might stand out and for what. Who on the Council is most likely to succeed? Who could be the consensus builder? Or Rahm Emanuel’s insider?</p><p><em>Music Button: Dave Specter, "Alley Walk", from the CD Spectified, (Fret12 Productions)</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 13:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-06/former-aldermen-explain-what-newly-appointed-city-council-members-can-ex Venture Extra: Small business owner says aldermen can help navigate city government http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-04-04/venture-extra-small-business-owner-says-aldermen-can-help-navigate-ci <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-04/IMAG0636.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Today on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman/venture-do-aldermen-have-too-much-power-over-small-businesses-84648">Venture</a>, we explore the question of whether small business owners feel like they’re under the thumb of their alderman, particularly when it comes to obtaining licenses and permits. But small business owners’ views and experiences vary widely, and some say their alderman’s office can be a resource they don’t even realize they can use.</p><p>Take Tracy Kellner, for example.&nbsp;</p><p>Her business, <a href="http://www.provenancefoodandwine.com/">Provenance Food and Wine</a>, faced paying $11,000 this fall to the city of Chicago to renew two general business licenses and two liquor licenses. Paying all of the license renewals at the same time was going to be very tough financially. She described the dilemma in an interview at her Lincoln Square shop, where she sells everything from black lava salt to French plum pickles to “drunken goat cheese” - Spanish goat cheese soaked in red wine.<br> <br> "Out of desperation, I thought, `I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep this location open,’” Kellner said.<br> <br> It hadn’t occurred to her to call her alderman. But that’s exactly what her colleague on the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce did after Kellner described her situation. Two days later, she got a call from Alderman Eugene Schulter’s office.<br> <br> The alderman’s staffer said, “Go down to the Department of Business Affairs, talk to this person, and they’ll put you on a payment plan,” Kellner said. “That was a tremendous relief.”<br> <br> What Kellner does find frustrating, though, is that the information came to her by chance. And in this way, her story highlights the fact that in many ways, most small businesses have to go through their alderman’s office to navigate city government.<br> <br> “For many businesses, the frustration is there's no cut and dried set of processes to achieve things. No matter who you talk to at the city, you get a different answer, and people don't want to document things in writing,” Kellner said.<br> <br> “It’s only because I work with the Chamber and mentioned it to someone who works closely with the alderman, that this came about,” she said. “If someone was in another ward and didn't necessarily have rapport with the alderman's office, they may have to close because they don't know [a payment plan for business licenses] is an option. Most businesses like myself – we want to do things the right way. We just don’t always know how.”<br> <br> That’s something the incoming 47th ward alderman, Ameya Pawar, says he wants to address.<br> <br> “In many ways, aldermen have served as gatekeepers to many types of service, virtually all service, and that's led to an inefficient way of doing things,” Pawar said. “As a city we need to take a look at every process and identify ways to not only streamline them but also centralize them, so aldermen can be legislators rather than gatekeepers to service delivery.”<br> <br> Kellner says she likes what she hears from Pawar, but she’s waiting to see what happens.<br> <br> “Transparency is something everyone says they want, but I do get the jaded cynicism that says, ‘Okay, that's what they say, but two years from now is anything going to be different?’” Kellner said. “I've lived in Chicago long enough to know change doesn't happen quickly.”<br> <br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 14:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-04-04/venture-extra-small-business-owner-says-aldermen-can-help-navigate-ci Venture: Do aldermen have too much power over small businesses? http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman/venture-do-aldermen-have-too-much-power-over-small-businesses-84648 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-03/IMG_3573.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The biggest economic news in Chicago this week may be what happens in politics.<br> <br> On Tuesday voters in Chicago will choose almost a third of the city council. And for small business owners, that has big ramifications. They know their success can hinge on who their alderman is.<br> <br> In Lincoln Square, just north of Lawrence on Western Avenue, a block of small business owners learned firsthand a few years ago how powerful an alderman can be. Alderman Eugene Schulter of the 47th ward pushed forward a proposal for the city to acquire their properties and sell them to a private developer to turn into condos and retail stores.<br> <br> Tim Van Le owns Decorium Furniture in the targeted block. Now, three and a half years later, he still heaves a sigh when he describes how it felt knowing he might have to relinquish his store.<br> <br> “Absolutely we feel so hopeless,” Le said. “We really felt like we had no word.”<br> <br> Just next door is Chicago Soccer, which sells cleats and other soccer gear. Imre Hidvegi is one of the owners. He led the campaign to fight Alderman Schulter's plan.<br> <br> “It steamrolled so quickly we didn’t even have a chance to sit down and ask wait, why, how, what’s going on here? I equate it to a violent attack,” Hidvegi says with a laugh.<br> <br> He can laugh now because they rallied enough protesters to get Alderman Schulter to drop the idea. Schulter didn't respond to calls seeking comment.<br> <br> That attempted land grab was pretty brazen, but every day aldermen are asked to sign permit applications for things like awnings and sidewalk cafes. And they get notice from the city for every building permit and license application. That can have business owners feeling like they have to make nice with their alderman.<br> <br> George Fink is president of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. He says he senses fear on the part of small business owners.<br> <br> “That’s the general feeling in the public that oh well, we can’t do anything unless we go through the alderman to do it,” Fink said. “Is that a good feeling for free people? No, I don’t think so.”<br> <br> Elizabeth Milnikel agrees. She's researched the regulatory environment in Chicago as part of her work as director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. It’s a law clinic with a libertarian bent that works with lower-income entrepreneurs. She says Chicago's political system vests too much control in each individual alderman.<br> <br> “It puts a lot of power in one person and that person can be the gatekeeper for a business that’s really trying to get started, trying to flourish in a community,” Milnikel said.<br> <br> Milnikel says making things easier for small businesses is even more important right now as the city tries to pull out of the recession and create jobs. But she says some businesses can’t even get off the ground if they don’t have buy-in from the alderman. She cites the case of one of her clients who wants to open up a day care but was told by the alderman there were already enough day cares in the area.<br> <br> “She has held this building and paid property taxes for over a year now, [but] she hasn’t even been allowed to start building it up as a day care,” Milnikel said. “Meanwhile this block has yet another empty building sitting there.”<br> <br> Alderman Vi Daley, who’s leaving the 43rd ward, says she worked hard during her 12 years to fill empty buildings. Still, she says it’s the alderman’s job to make decisions.<br> <br> “I mean an alderman certainly knows their community, knows the street and you could probably reach out to chambers and get their input if they’re active on the street, but I guess, who would then make that decision?” Daley said.<br> <br> In Lincoln Square, where those small store owners pushed back, Alderman Schulter is leaving office after more than 35 years.<br> <br> Small business owners say they’re excited about his replacement – a young Northwestern University staffer named Ameya Pawar, who ran as an underdog and won. Pawar says what’s needed for local businesses is more transparency.<br> <br> “I think this is probably endemic in the city of Chicago where campaign contributions are linked to things actually getting done – to signs or awnings processes getting taken care of,” Pawar said. “And I think moving forward what we need to do is create a climate where businesses in the ward and all wards in the city of Chicago feel like they understand how to get a license, how to get a permit, and I don’t think we have such a climate at this point.”<br> <br> Entrepreneurs say they like what they hear from Pawar, but after years of doing business in Chicago, they’ll believe it when they see it. And in 14 wards across the city tomorrow, small business owners will be watching election returns closely to see who will be their new gatekeeper.<br> <br> Each week on Venture, we bring you something called our Windy Indicator – a fresh way to understand the climate of the economy.<br> <br> It could be sunny. Or it could be stormy.<br> <br> One person who’s banking, literally, on April showers is Jeff Hodgson, founder and president of Chicago Weather Brokerage - a brokerage for precipitation. He says the amount of rain we get can be a strong indicator for all sorts of sectors of the economy.<br> <br> “A lot of people talk to me and they talk about speculating. ‘Wow, I can’t believe you can trade rain or snow. Now you’re betting on the weather,’” Hodgson said. “And the answer I always get back to people is, ‘You’re investing all this money into a marketplace where the main revenue driver is something you cannot control. You’re the one speculating here.’”<br> <br> The Chicago Mercantile Exchange started selling rain contracts six months ago. The whole idea is that farmers, golf courses, outdoor music venues, and fertilizer companies could treat the rain contracts as a sort of insurance. Heavy rainfall could be an economic disaster for those businesses. But so far – it’s been a hard sell.<br> <br> “Farmers understand how to trade crops – crop futures. You know, wheat, corn, soy beans, things of that nature,” Hodgson said.<br> <br> But Hodgson says it’ll take some time to get customers used to the idea of putting money on the weather – something you probably don’t think about buying.<br> <br> Next week – our Windy Indicator goes premium at the gas pump.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 05:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman/venture-do-aldermen-have-too-much-power-over-small-businesses-84648 WBEZ's bureau reporters discuss the Aldermanic runoff elections http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/wbezs-bureau-reporters-discuss-aldermanic-runoff-elections-84411 <p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s runoff election is right around the corner &ndash;Tuesday, April 5, to be exact. Voters in 14 wards will decide who they want to represent them on City Council. So, it seemed like a good time to get a ground-eye&rsquo;s view of the races.<br /><br />Joining host Alison Cuddy from WBEZ's West Side bureau studio in Chicago&rsquo;s Humboldt Park were a few of the reporters who are all over these races: Chip Mitchell from the bureau in Humboldt Park, Odette Yousef from WBEZ's North Side bureau on Devon Ave. and Natalie Moore who covers the&nbsp;South Side as WBEZ's bureau reporter in Englewood. WBEZ's political reporter Sam Hudzik also joined the team for this conversation.</p><p><em>Music Button: Latin Soul Syndicate, &quot;Mi Dia Bonito&quot;, from the CD Latin Travels 2, (Six Degrees) </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-29/wbezs-bureau-reporters-discuss-aldermanic-runoff-elections-84411 The Weekly Guide: Johnny Kozlar's off the campaign trail and onto the weekend http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-25/weekly-guide-johnny-kozlars-campaign-trail-and-weekend-82969 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Johnny Kozlar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Johnny Kozlar is a busy young man. The University of Chicago senior studies political science and medicine, he plays for the school&rsquo;s baseball team and this week, he wrapped up his campaign for <a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Kozlar-for-11th-Ward-Alderman/137239426330386#!/pages/John-Kozlar-for-11th-Ward-Alderman/137239426330386?v=wall">11th Ward alderman</a>, a ward that's forever linked to the Daley family.<br /><br />Kozlar fell short in that race. There is a silver lining though &ndash; his weekends just got a little more open! In the latest installment of<em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/weeklyguide">The Weekly&nbsp;Guide</a></em>, Kozlar joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy in studio to share what he&rsquo;ll do on his first truly free weekend since the campaign season started.</p><p><strong>Johnny Kozlar's Picks:</strong></p><p><strong>Friday</strong>:<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://chicago.metromix.com/bars-and-clubs/sports_bar/schallers-pump-bridgeport-sox/139482/content">Schaller&rsquo;s Pump in Bridgeport</a><br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.freddieson31st.com/ ">Dinner at Freddies on 31st and Union</a> for great beef and eggplant sandwiches</p><p><strong><br />Saturday</strong>:<br />University of Chicago baseball practice<br />Jogging in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/3edbd844-ec85-4630-8701-4217d869fa42.cfm ">Armour Square Park </a><br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/a1d20425-2e4e-4393-ab70-9ce7a41e9089.cfm ">Boyce Park</a> (Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park) in Canaryville</p><p><strong>Sunday</strong>:<br />Study at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/reg/ ">The Joseph Regenstein Library</a></p><p><em>Lady Foursquare's Music Button: Geeeman, &quot;Rubberband2&quot;, Jack for Daze</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 14:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-25/weekly-guide-johnny-kozlars-campaign-trail-and-weekend-82969