WBEZ | Willie Cochran http://www.wbez.org/tags/willie-cochran Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How Emanuel is selling his monster water fee hike http://www.wbez.org/content/how-emanuel-selling-his-monster-water-fee-hike <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-07/IMG_0850.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The way it sits along Lake Michigan, you'd think Chicago would have a few problems bigger than water. But getting that water to homes and businesses takes a massive underground network - one that's crumbling, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>To speed up replacement of old water and sewer lines, he's asking for a huge increase in water fees. As part of our coverage this week of Emanuel's budget, we looked closer at the water proposal, and how the mayor is selling it.</p><p>There are tens of millions of dollars of tax, fine and fee increases in Emanuel's proposed budget. None are likely to affect the average Chicagoan as much as the water fee hike, beginning with a 25 percent boost next year.</p><p>"The extra cost will equal about five cups of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts a month," Emanuel said during his budget address to the City Council on Oct. 12.</p><p>"I don't drink coffee, so I'm still trying to do the math," said Ald. Joe Moore of the North Side's 49th Ward.</p><p>Well, Moore can put down his calculator. The administration claims the water and sewer fee increase adds up to - on average - $120 per year. Although, the cups of coffee keep multiplying after that.</p><p>By 2015, Chicago households - and suburban ones who also get their water from the city - would pay more than double what they do now. Also, many nonprofits and churches that currently get a pass on water bills would gradually have to start paying.</p><p>All that would help finance a $4 billion dollar-plus plan that is expected to nearly triple the current speed of infrastructure replacement.</p><p>"We have about a thousand miles of water pipe that are 100 years old or older," Emanuel said. "Despite our budget problems, we cannot delay their replacement any longer."</p><p>Plus, Emanuel announced, the work will mean 1,800 jobs a year over the next decade, not an insignificant selling point at a time of high unemployment.</p><p>Two days later, the mayor scheduled a press conference to make the pitch again. And, one day after that...</p><p>"The pipe broke at 8:30 Saturday morning," explained Tom Powers, Emanuel's water commissioner, at a press conference at <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?q=47th+and+loomis+chicago&amp;ll=41.808701,-87.660105&amp;spn=0.007805,0.025814&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;hnear=W+47th+St+%26+S+Loomis+Blvd,+Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois+60609&amp;gl=us&amp;t=m&amp;z=16&amp;vpsrc=0">47th and Loomis</a>. That's where a more than 80-year-old 24-inch water main broke. "We lost about 1.7 million gallons of water through this break alone."</p><p>The timing was perfect: a ready-made TV event, flooded neighborhood and all, to demonstrate the need for the water fee increase. There have been about 250 water main breaks this year in Chicago, but this one got a lot of attention, no doubt because the city called attention to it.</p><p>"Coincidental, or foresight on the mayor's part?" said Ald. Willie Cochran, when asked about the timing.</p><p>Part of Cochran's 20th Ward was affected by the water main break. I asked him if the neighborhood flooding makes the increase an easier sell to his ward's residents.</p><p>"It's not an easy pill to swallow when you start talking about increasing fees at this time, as it ...was in the past," Cochran said. "It wasn't done in the past."</p><p>Actually, it was done in the past. From <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/water/provdrs/cust_serv/svcs/know_my_water_sewerrates.html">2007 to 2010</a>, water rates jumped about 50 percent. Emanuel's proposal would raise combined water and sewer rates more than 100 percent more over the next four years. Hikes after that would be pegged to inflation, every year.</p><p>If residents sign up for a free city-installed water meter, the mayor claims, the increases can be blunted. Though Emanuel is quick to point out that Chicago residents "currently pay the lowest price for water of any big city in America."</p><p>In fact, Memphis has <a href="http://www.bv.com/Downloads/Resources/Brochures/rsrc_EMS_Top50RateSurvey.pdf">lower water rates</a>. (Emanuel just doesn't count Memphis as a big city.) But the point is the same: Chicago's water is cheap.</p><p>"For years - decades, the water sold by the city of Chicago has been under-priced," said Josh Ellis, a water expert with the Metropolitan Planning Council.</p><p>Ellis said the fee increase would make Chicago residents value their water more, leading to more conservation. Ellis supports it, with a hitch.</p><p>"I would like to see the city of Chicago create some sort of reporting system, whether it's on the bills or on the website or wherever, that says, 'Here's how many miles of pipe we replaced in January, here's how many we replaced in February, here's how many we replaced in March.' So that we know how much is getting fixed, and we know that there's been a benefit," Ellis said.</p><p>Even if the city doesn't put that information on water bills, Ellis notes Chicagoans would see the work happening, torn-up street after torn-up street.</p><p>"If we're going to replace 900 miles of century-old water pipes, they're definitely going to notice all of the repair projects," Ellis said. "Will they have a fundamentally different experience when they turn on the tap to get a drink of water or take a bath or something, no. I mean the water's going to look the same, it's going to taste the same, it's going to be the same water."</p><p>But it would be delivered with more reliability, less waste, and - at least relative to today - a much higher price tag.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/how-emanuel-selling-his-monster-water-fee-hike An election 'thank you,' stamped with an alderman's government letterhead http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-02-25/election-thank-you-stamped-aldermans-government-letterhead-83016 <p><p>Chicago Ald. Willie Cochran finished first in his bid for re-election on Tuesday, but his 46-percent was not enough to avoid a runoff. Nonetheless, the first-term alderman wanted to thank his constituents.<br /><br />&ldquo;I am grateful for this strong show of support,&rdquo; Cochran was quoted as saying in a press release sent out Friday afternoon. &ldquo;After years of neglect in only three short years working in partnership with residents, businesses and institutions in our ward, we have accomplished much.&quot;<br /><br />The message was titled &quot;20th Ward Alderman Cochran&rsquo;s Strong Support Spells Success in April.&quot; It was sent by Bryant Payne, from the public relations firm MK Communications, and read every bit like a campaign press release.<br /><br />But it wasn't. The press release bore the letterhead of Cochran's aldermanic office, and the listed contact was Barbara Holt, a city employee with a city email address. <br /><br />Plus, MK Communications only has a contract with Cochran's taxpayer-funded office, not his campaign. That's according to the firm's founder and president, veteran Chicago publicist Marilyn Katz. Katz said the company is paid about $5,000 a year to do work for Cochran's office. &quot;Very little work,&quot; Katz said. (This sort of contract, it should be noted, is not unusual among council members. Most do not employ full-time press secretaries.)<br /><br />The release touts Cochran's efforts to develop the ward, and closes with this line, attributed to Cochran: &quot;I look forward to the next six weeks to ensure that we can continue the strong alliance we have built to continue the progress and keep moving forward.&quot;<br /><br />The runoff election is in six weeks, against hip hop artist Che &quot;Rhymefest&quot; Smith. Katz, in a phone interview Friday afternoon, denied the press release was meant to be an election piece.</p><p>&quot;I thought it was an appropriate aldermanic thank you,&quot; she said, adding that it was sent not just to the media, but also to members of the community. &quot;I didn&rsquo;t see it as a campaign piece. If I did I&rsquo;d have put it on campaign letterhead.&quot;<br /><br />Though, Katz noted, she is not in possession of campaign letterhead for Cochran, because she is not working for his campaign. (She said she hopes to, though.)</p><p><strong>Where's the line?</strong><br /><br />&quot;My guess is that the argument would be that they were&hellip;straddling a constituent services-type message as opposed to using public resources for electoral purposes,&quot; said Cindi Canary, the head of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s tricky with incumbents. [Cochran] is allowed to say 'thank you' to people,' Candary said. But &quot;is it really necessary to do this on city stationary or is that just telescoping: 'I am the incumbent'?&quot;</p><p>&quot;My guess is this steps over the line,&quot; Canary said. &quot;It&rsquo;s not a good practice, but it certainly is common practice in this city.&quot;<br /><br />That last point is key, and brings us to a observation made by both Canary and Katz: A lot of aldermen in Chicago routinely walk that fine line between political and government expenses.</p></p> Sat, 26 Feb 2011 00:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-02-25/election-thank-you-stamped-aldermans-government-letterhead-83016 South Side Aldermanic Races http://www.wbez.org/story/3rd-ward/south-side-aldermanic-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/4704712869_eaf3ca8414_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 11:35&nbsp; </em>Among the Election Day highlights on the city's South Side: Ald. Freddrenna Lyle will face challenger Roderick Sawyer in an April runoff in Chicago's 6th Ward, while&nbsp;Grammy-award winning rapper Che &quot;Rhymefest&quot; Smith has made it into a runoff race for a Chicago City Council seat. With all precincts reporting, the rapper had 20 percent of the vote, trailing incumbent Alderman Willie Cochran, who had 46 percent.&nbsp; There will also be runoffs in the 15th and 16th wards.</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 2</strong></p><p>55 of 56 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Bob Fioretti, (i) 7,836 - 55 percent</p><p>Genita Robinson, 4,442 - 31 percent</p><p>Enrique Perez, 640 - 4 percent</p><p>Melissa Callahan, 634 - 4 percent</p><p>Federico Sciammarella, 616 - 4 percent</p><p>James Bosco, 157 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 3</strong></p><p>47 of 50 precincts - 94 percent</p><p>Pat Dowell, (i) 5,758 - 68 percent</p><p>Ebony Tillman, 2,756 - 32 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 4</strong></p><p>46 of 52 precincts - 88 percent</p><p>Will Burns, 7,456 - 65 percent</p><p>Lori Yokoyama, 1,104 - 10 percent</p><p>Norman Bolden, 1,077 - 9 percent</p><p>Brian Scott, 803 - 7 percent</p><p>George Rumsey, 576 - 5 percent</p><p>Adam Miguest, 348 - 3 percent</p><p>James Williams, 161 - 1 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 5</strong></p><p>55 of 55 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Leslie Hairston, (i) 7,217 - 62 percent</p><p>Anne Marie Miles, 2,489 - 21 percent</p><p>Glenn Ross, 826 - 7 percent</p><p>Carol Hightower Chalmers, 701 - 6 percent</p><p>Michele Tankersley, 451 - 4 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 6</strong></p><p>63 of 64 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Freddrenna Lyle, (i) 6,573 - 45 percent</p><p>Roderick Sawyer, 3,689 - 25 percent</p><p>Richard Wooten, 2,893 - 20 percent</p><p>Cassandra Goodrum-Burton, 940 - 6 percent</p><p>Sekum Walker, 337 - 2 percent</p><p>Brian Sleet, 303 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 7</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Sandi Jackson, (i) 6,506 - 53 percent</p><p>Darcel Beavers, 3,223 - 26 percent</p><p>Gregory Mitchell, 1,542 - 13 percent</p><p>Lionell Martin, 467 - 4 percent</p><p>Deborah Washington, 334 - 3 percent</p><p>Sidney Brooks, 179 - 1 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 8</strong></p><p>66 of 70 precincts - 94 percent</p><p>Michelle Harris, (i) 9,789 - 68 percent</p><p>Faheem Shabazz, 2,082 - 15 percent</p><p>James Daniels, 1,752 - 12 percent</p><p>Bertha Starks, 682 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 9</strong></p><p>52 of 53 precincts - 98 percent</p><p>Anthony Beale, (i) 6,201 - 58 percent</p><p>Harold Ward, 1,946 - 18 percent</p><p>Sandra Walters, 1,751 - 16 percent</p><p>Eddie Reed, 780 - 7 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 10</strong></p><p>48 of 48 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>John Pope, (i) 6,298 - 59 percent</p><p>Richard Martinez, 3,801 - 36 percent</p><p>Joseph Nasella, 421 - 4 percent</p><p>Jose Leon, 110 - 1 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 11</strong></p><p>50 of 50 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>James Balcer, (i) 6,712 - 61 percent</p><p>John Kozlar, 2,449 - 22 percent</p><p>Carl Segvich, 1,787 - 16 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 12</strong></p><p>24 of 24 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>George Cardenas, (i) 2,680 - 55 percent</p><p>Jose Guereca, 911 - 19 percent</p><p>Jesse Iniguez, 796 - 16 percent</p><p>Alberto Bocanegra, 321 - 7 percent</p><p>Maria Ortiz, 137 - 3 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 15</strong></p><p>52 of 52 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Toni Foulkes, (i) 3,088 - 44 percent</p><p>Raymond Lopez, 1,042 - 15 percent</p><p>Harold Bailey, 765 - 11 percent</p><p>Sammy Pack, 730 - 10 percent</p><p>Felicia Simmons-Stovall, 573 - 8 percent</p><p>Syron Smith, 415 - 6 percent</p><p>Sandra Mallory, 368 - 5 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 16</strong></p><p>44 of 44 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>JoAnn Thompson, (i) 2,626 - 43 percent</p><p>Hal Baskin, 1,367 - 23 percent</p><p>Eric Hermosillo, 957 - 16 percent</p><p>Javier Diaz, 269 - 4 percent</p><p>Eddie Johnson, 211 - 3 percent</p><p>Tameka Gavin, 204 - 3 percent</p><p>Ronald Mitchell, 196 - 3 percent</p><p>Jonathan Stamps, 128 - 2 percent</p><p>Jeffrey Lewis, 93 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 17</strong></p><p>57 of 64 precincts - 89 percent</p><p>Latasha Thomas, (i) 4,380 - 49 percent</p><p>David Moore, 1,696 - 19 percent</p><p>Antoine Members, 1,002 - 11 percent</p><p>Ronald Carter, 518 - 6 percent</p><p>Michael Daniels, 442 - 5 percent</p><p>Twaundella Taylor, 349 - 4 percent</p><p>Paulette Coleman, 273 - 3 percent</p><p>Virgil Means, 219 - 2 percent</p><p><br /><strong>Alderman Ward 18</strong></p><p>62 of 62 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Lona Lane, (i) 7,774 - 51 percent</p><p>Chuks Onyezia, 2,450 - 16 percent</p><p>Joseph Ziegler, 2,255 - 15 percent</p><p>Michael Davis, 2,163 - 14 percent</p><p>Manny Roman, 711 - 5 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 19</strong></p><p>63 of 63 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Matthew O'Shea, 14,426 - 61 percent</p><p>Anne Schaible, 6,526 - 28 percent</p><p>Phillip Sherlock, 1,315 - 6 percent</p><p>George Newell, 725 - 3 percent</p><p>Ray Coronado, 592 - 3 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 20</strong></p><p>50 of 50 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Willie Cochran, (i) 3,403 - 46 percent</p><p>Che Smith, 1,469 - 20 percent</p><p>George Davis, 1,201 - 16 percent</p><p>Andre Smith, 1,079 - 15 percent</p><p>Sid Shelton, 241 - 3 percent</p><p><strong><br />Alderman Ward 21</strong></p><p>70 of 74 precincts - 95 percent</p><p>Howard Brookins, (i) 8,004 - 56 percent</p><p>Sheldon Sherman, 2,797 - 19 percent</p><p>Patricia Foster, 1,706 - 12 percent</p><p>Sylvia Jones, 1,537 - 11 percent</p><p>Jerome Maddox, 309 - 2 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 23</strong></p><p>54 of 54 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Michael Zalewski, (i) 8,581 - 53 percent</p><p>Anna Goral, 5,511 - 34 percent</p><p>Chuck Maida, 2,231 - 14 percent</p><p><strong><br /></strong></p><p><strong>Alderman Ward 34</strong></p><p>61 of 61 precincts - 100 percent</p><p>Carrie Austin, (i) 9,170 - 65 percent</p><p>Henry Moses, 2,123 - 15 percent</p><p>Shirley White, 1,533 - 11 percent</p><p>Burl McQueen, 659 - 5 percent</p><p>Michael Mayden, 618 - 4 percent</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated At: 9:35 p.m.&nbsp; </em>Grammy-winning hip-hopper Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith appears to have forced a runoff in the 20th Ward. Incumbent Ald. Willie Cochran has a substantial lead, but he has so far drawn less than 50 percent of the vote. Here's the latest look at numbers from South Side aldermanic races:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated At 8:30 p.m.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em>A runoff appears likely in Chicago's 6th Ward. Here are the numbers in that race, with 91 percent of precincts reporting:</p><p>Here's a look at some of the races WBEZ is focusing on:</p><p><strong>3rd Ward</strong><br />Ald. Pat Dowell was elected in 2007, replacing longtime Ald. Dorothy Tillman. Tillman&rsquo;s daughter Ebony tried is trying to best Dowell. Many in the ward saw the contest between Dowell and the younger Tillman as a revenge race. In 2007 Dowell, who is a former urban planner, had the support of many young professionals in the ward who are eager for development in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. But the economy plummeted during Dowell&rsquo;s term and development stalled. In this election season, she landed endorsements from The Service Employees International Union, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and For A Better Chicago PAC. Ebony Tillman did not return phone calls from WBEZ about her candidacy. Her website said she wants to bring big box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, etc. to the ward.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>4th Ward</strong><br />The 4th Ward includes the neighborhood of Hyde Park&ndash; a progressive, politically independent part of the city. The ward had been led by Toni Preckwinkle, who relinquished her seat after winning the presidency of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.&nbsp; Illinois State Rep. Will Burns was the likely heir apparent to Preckwinkle&rsquo;s former seat, and he scored her endorsement early in the race. The SEIU, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and For A Better Chicago PAC also endorsed Burns. Burns has an extensive public policy background that resonated with residents in the ward. He campaigned on bringing more retail shopping options to the area.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>6th Ward</strong><br />Roderick Sawyer ran against incumbent Freddrenna Lyle. Sawyer is the son of the late Eugene Sawyer, former 6th Ward alderman and mayor of Chicago. Sawyer argued the ward was neglected with blight. He benefitted from deep community connections and name recognition. The SEIU-backed Lyle struck a chord with seniors. The 6th ward covers Chatham and Park Manor &ndash; black middle-class neighborhoods that tend to be politically mobilized. Chatham has seen an uptick in crime, which has made residents nervous.</p><p><strong>7th Ward</strong><br />The race for 7th Ward alderman featured two women with deep political ties.&nbsp;Ald. Sandi Jackson is the wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., whose father is the Rev. Jesse Jackson. She took this South Side ward four years ago by beating Darcel Beavers, who was appointed to finish the term of her father, William Beavers. He left the office in 2006, after serving as alderman for 23 years.</p><p>Sandi Jackson ran on a platform of economic revitalization. Specifics included development of a large retail and housing complex on the site of the former USX steel plant.</p><p><strong>10th Ward</strong></p><p>The 10th ward comprises portions of several Southeast Side neighborhoods: South Chicago, South Deering, the East Side and Hegewisch. The area was once an industrial powerhouse but as manufacturers left, the ward&rsquo;s struggled with crime, unemployment and the question of how to make use of large tracts of former factory space.</p><p>The two front runners differed in how they approached economic development.&nbsp;The incumbent, John Pope, ran on a platform that included attracting clean industrial jobs. Richard Martinez campaigned on moving the ward away from reliance on heavy industry.</p><p>Two other candidates, Joseph NaSella and Jose Leon, made little impact during the aldermanic contest.</p><p><strong>19th Ward</strong></p><p>The aldermanic race in this Southwest side ward began when Ald. Ginger Rugai, announced she would retire.&nbsp;The five candidates that vied for her seat included Rugai&rsquo;s longtime aid and ward committeeman Matt O&rsquo;Shea.&nbsp;His opponents included Ray Coronado, George Newell, Anne Schaible, Phil Sherlock and Diane Phillips.&nbsp;O&rsquo;Shea and Schaible dominated the race during the campaign.</p><p>The ward includes portions of the Morgan Park and Beverly neighborhoods. Top campaign issues include how best to revitalize retail strips along 95th Street and Western Avenue.</p><p><strong>20th Ward</strong><br />Grammy-winning hip-hopper Che &ldquo;Rhymefest&rdquo; Smith challenged first-term Ald. Willie Cochran. Smith enlisted help from fellow hip-hoppers and intellectuals, including Cornel West. Smith brought energy and youthfulness&nbsp; - and of course, celebrity &ndash; to the race. Cochran is regarded relatively well in the ward for bringing some affordable housing and commercial development. Since the last aldermanic election the ward&rsquo;s taken a hit from foreclosures and stalled economic options.&nbsp; The ward includes the Washington Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods.</p><p><em>Natalie Moore and Michael Puente contributed to this story.</em></p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/3rd-ward/south-side-aldermanic-races