Erin Allen: Good morning. It's Friday! I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown.
So we've been talking a lot about property taxes in the last few weeks, and my colleague Adora Namigadde has more to report. A new lawsuit argues that the way Cook County handles delinquent property taxes illegally discriminates against people of color. Here's Adora with more on that.
Adora Namigadde: When a homeowner loses their home because they did not pay their property taxes, a new tax buyer can swoop in and offer to pay the back taxes. If the original owner does not pay those buyers back in two and a half years, the home and invested equity will be lost. Legal Action Chicago director John Bouman says withholding homeowners equity violates the Fair Housing Act.
John Bouman: You don't have the money to get a new place to live and so it deeply harms your ability to be housed in a community you choose or in decent circumstances.
Erin Allen: The suit was filed by two residents who lost about $300,000 in home equity through the tax sale process.
In other real estate news Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya is floating the idea of a new property tax exemption. The goal is to ease the burden on homeowners as property taxes climb, especially in gentrifying Latinx communities. During a Cook County Board meeting yesterday, Anaya spoke about the fear of people getting priced out of neighborhoods. Anaya wants to establish a property tax exemption for longtime homeowners who live in historic districts. The exemption would apply to homeowners renting to low and middle income tenants who have lived in historic districts for at least five years. Any exemptions that are offered will shift the burden onto other property owners. The Cook County assessor would oversee the exemption and a spokesperson for the assessor said he's reviewing the proposal.
I mentioned earlier this month at Illinois Democrats are pushing to ban the sale of assault style weapons as well as magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. But at a hearing yesterday, some anti violence workers said the ban won't do enough to curb gun violence across the city. Here's youth counselor Joseph Saunders.
Joseph Saunders: This ban was to take effect still we we got hearts that needs to be changed minds that need to be changed so the finger will pull the trigger.
Erin Allen: Saunders and other advocates urge lawmakers to invest in local restorative justice initiatives. As for Democratic lawmakers, they say they hope to pass the assault weapons ban in Illinois next month. So, it is gonna get cold next week and Chicago leaders are preparing for plunging temperatures in the region. Rich Guidice is with the city's Office of Emergency Management.
Richard Guidice: If you see someone trying to survive on the street or not the public venues or if you know of a friend or relative who may need assistance, please call 311 with the location of the individual, you can also request wellbeing checks.
Erin Allen: In other words, check on your people. At a news conference yesterday he also reminded residents about the city's resources and designated warming centers. And a few quick hits before we get to the weather.
Officials from Chicago Public Health and Lurie Children's Hospital marked the two year anniversary of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday. They also use the occasion to once again urge people to get vaccinated and boosted especially with holiday gatherings this month. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker joined labor leaders and state lawmakers yesterday and celebrating the passage of the workers rights amendment. The Constitutional Amendment guarantees employees the right to collective bargaining and prohibits the state from passing future laws interfering with that right. It was approved by voters and last month's midterm election.
And the city of Chicago shared three preliminary sketches for the vacant lot at 18th in Peoria in Pilsen last night. They promised to build affordable housing on the parcel to help fight rapid resident displacement. Officials stress that these are not concrete plans, though, residents will be able to provide input and they will then help inform development proposals next year. There's more to the story. And actually, I'll be talking with my colleague Indi Khera about it next week, so stay tuned.
As for weather, cloudy and not much fluctuation in temperature today, high in the lower 30s. Low tonight in the upper 20s. And that's it for now. But make sure you come back this afternoon because we're talking FKA Kanye West.
Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr: Kanye actually has what I call intellectual refusal, all the knowledge at his disposal. And even when knowledge comes to him, he's going to negate it, right? You ain't got the answer Sway, but Sway do have the answer sometimes. If you ask Sway, Sway might actually give you the answers. You want to know about slavery, talk to some slave historians.
Erin Allen: I'll talk with the professor who's written about research and taught a whole class on Ye. And honey, that conversation is stimulating and enlightening. That's coming up today at 2:00 p.m. on The Rundown. I'm Erin Allen. I'll talk to you then.
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