WBEZ | alderman http://www.wbez.org/tags/alderman Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Winners in Chicago's uncontested races http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman/winners-chicagos-uncontested-races <p><p>The Associated Press has declared the following candidates winners of uncontested races:</p><p>City Treasurer - Chicago: Stephanie Neely (i)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Alderman - Ward 13: Marty Quinn</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 14: Edward Burke (i)</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 31: Ray Suarez (i)</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 33: Richard Mell (i)</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 40: Patrick O'Connor (i)</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 42: Brendan Reilly (i)</p><p><br />Alderman - Ward 44: Thomas M. Tunney (i)</p></p> Wed, 23 Feb 2011 01:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/alderman/winners-chicagos-uncontested-races 18-year-old aldermanic candidate gets no respect from incumbent http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/18-year-old-aldermanic-candidate-gets-no-respect-incumbent <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Devon Reid Prepares Flyers at his Campaign Office.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Politicians around the city are making their final push for votes in Chicago's mayoral and aldermanic races. The 26th ward on the city's west side is home to something of a David and Goliath story with an 18-year-old going up against an experienced politician. Though this David is unlikely to beat Goliath.<br /><br />It's Saturday afternoon just a couple days before the election and 2548 W. Division is all closed up.&nbsp; There are rolling shutters over the windows as well as the door.&nbsp; This is Alderman Roberto Maldonado's campaign office and it's not exactly a beehive of activity right now though Maldonado doesn't have much of a political challenge in this race.<br /><br />REID: My name is Devon Reid.&nbsp; I'm running for alderman in the 26th ward.&nbsp; I'm 18, I'm at Wright College.&nbsp; I'm studying to be a high school history teacher.<br /><br />Reid is standing in the community room of the public library in Humboldt Park where he's set out some literature.<br /><br />He hands me a flyer and says he knows there's a mistake.<br /><br />His bullet point on using Tax Increment Financing to support schools. It's listed twice.<br /><br />But Reid doesn't want to waste all the copies he's made so all the flyers will be put in mailboxes.<br /><br />He stands at the front of the room ready to make his pitch to voters but no one shows up.<br /><br />It doesn't seem to phase him though because of the time he's spent out in the ward.<br /><br />REID: I always get a very positive response.&nbsp; A lot of people are tired of the way things are going here in Chicago and in the ward.<br /><br />Reid looks down at a map of the ward and shows me where he's been focussing his time.<br />&nbsp;<br />REID:&nbsp; In areas like the 19th precinct, that's a very progressive area.&nbsp; There's a green party candidate that ran for state senator in 2010 and he got 40 percent of the vote in the 19th precinct, the 34th, the 51st, and those all have very high voter turnout.&nbsp; Those are some of the highest in the ward and they're very progressive apparently if they're voting for a green party candidate.<br /><br />Reid is hoping some of those voters will be more inclined to vote for him rather than a well-established politician like Maldonado.<br /><br />Maldonado was a Cook County commissioner for 15 years before being appointed to the City Council by Mayor Richard Daley in 2009.<br /><br />Maldonado has $200,000 to spend while Reid has a little more than $3,000 in cash and in kind contributions.<br /><br />Reid says most of his financial support actually comes from the foster family that he's lived with for the last 5 years after his grandmother died.<br /><br />Despite Maldonado's huge advantage in the race, perhaps because of it, he's been unwilling to engage Reid.<br /><br />For example, at a candidate's forum in January sponsored by the Organization of Palmer Square, Maldonado told organizers he wouldn't speak to the crowd with Reid in the room.<br /><br />REID: And so he asked them to make me leave for him to speak and they politely brought me over to the side and told me that they did want him to speak and if I'd just step outside of the room and then I can come back in after he's done talking.&nbsp; I didn't want to cause a huge scene and I didn't want to seem unprofessional so I went ahead and walked out of the room.&nbsp; Maldonado stepped to the front and then they closed the door because I couldn't even see him speak. <br /><br />Maldonado did not return calls for this story and in fact, things got a little weird as I sought an interview. <br /><br />A woman who answered the phone at his campaign office even hung up on me, twice.<br /><br />When I stopped by the office, another volunteer, Chris Johnson, who had taken a message by phone earlier in the day, said he'd pass another message on to Maldonado, but said they were pretty busy and he wasn't sure the message would get through.<br /><br />And he insisted there was no one else I should talk to about getting an interview.<br /><br />BARNES: My name is Bruce Barnes and I have stumbled into the position of being Devon Reid's campaign manager.<br /><br />Barnes met Reid when Reid was going door to door around the neighborhood collecting petitions to get on the ballot.<br /><br />Barnes says he was immediately impressed and he's been helping ever since and he says whatever happens on Tuesday, the campaign has already had an impact.<br /><br />BARNES: We had an alderman that was appointed by the mayor that we hadn't heard from the entire time he had been an alderman and as soon as he got word that Devon was on the ballot, in a one month period we got four or five different flyers in the mail and we had people knocking on our doors and his signs went up all over the neighborhood.<br /><br />Back at the library, standing in an empty room Reid says there probably is a correlation between how many people showed up for his forum and how many will vote for him.<br /><br />But he says win or lose, this won't be his last time running for office.<br /><br />He gathers up his flyers, errors and all, and heads out to a carefully chosen precinct to talk to some more voters.</p></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 05:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/26th-ward/18-year-old-aldermanic-candidate-gets-no-respect-incumbent