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The Mechanics

Economic Development Fri Oct 31 2014

How an Overlooked Rauner Job Creation Plan Caused Problems Across America

Plenty of words (and dollars) have been spilled over Bruce Rauner's Illinois gubernatorial campaign.

But for all the attack ads and in-depth exposés, one significant Rauner policy proposal has managed to evade scrutiny, even though it would forever change the state's relationship to the private sector.

Buried in the billionaire candidate's now-infamous endorsement in the Sun-Times is the following:

In addition to modernizing the tax code, Rauner would turn the state's primary economic development agency, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, into a creative public-private partnership.

Tax code policy, sure. But turning which agency into what?

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Jason Prechtel / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Tue Oct 28 2014

Chuy Garcia Jumps In, Realignment Begins

With the entry of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia into the mayoral race, the calculus has changed again. Garcia, a sitting Cook County commissioner, former alderman, and former state senator, is seasoned and well-connected. Those connections date back as far as Harold Washington, who was mayor when Garcia was elected to the City Council.

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Phil Huckelberry / Comments (1)

Election 2014 Mon Oct 27 2014

Bruce Rauner and the Illusion of Reform

Bruce Rauner has been running on a promise of shaking up Springfield, which is not shocking from any political candidate. Candidates often run on the promise of making progress or taking back the seat they are running for.

Rauner seems to be using particularly strong rhetoric about how he will change Illinois. His slogan is "Shake up Springfield. Bring back Illinois." He once put together a campaign ad where he picks up a sledgehammer after picking up a tiny hammer, which feels more like performance art than a serious campaign ad from someone who wants to be the next Governor of Illinois.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Fri Oct 24 2014

Chicago Organizers Protest Lead-Contaminated Schools

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Demonstrators protest lead-contaminated schools outside CPS' Loop headquarters. Photo by Kelly Hayes


Organizers with Chicago Light Brigade (CLB) demonstrated outside a board of education meeting Wednesday morning to call for immediate action on lead-based paint contamination in school buildings -- a hazard they suspect is widespread in Chicago.

Protesters claimed Chicago Public Schools officials knowingly ignored reports of hazardous lead contamination at Gale Elementary Community Academy in Rogers Park for at least five years before they began removing the lead-contaminated paint earlier this year.

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Emily Brosious / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Wed Oct 22 2014

Openlands Builds Green Space for Chicago Public Schools


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at McPherson Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Openlands

Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation, celebrated its continued effort to green Chicago Public Schools with the opening of its latest school garden in Ravenswood on Friday.

A dedication ceremony at McPherson Elementary School, 4728 N. Wolcott Avenue, brought together students and teachers, as well as local school and government officials together to celebrate the garden's installation. Speakers included Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th), Bill Clarkin of BMO Harris Bank (lead sponsor), Jerry Adelmann of Openlands, Senator Heather Steans, Principal Carmen Mendoza and Bob Farster of the Local School Council.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Oct 16 2014

How Aldermanic Candidates Might Adjust With Karen Lewis Out of the Mayoral Race

As widely reported, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will not be running for mayor. Previously, I wrote about how a Karen Lewis run for mayor could also have a major impact on several aldermanic races. Now that she's not running, it is worth reconsidering how the aldermanic races might be impacted.

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Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Wed Oct 15 2014

What a Karen Lewis Campaign for Mayor Meant to Chicago

By Tim Meegan

For the past several months, Chicago has been electrified by the prospect of a clash between two of the strongest personalities in city politics: the brash, business-first mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the outspoken, social justice-oriented union president Karen Lewis. For spectators in the media, and in the city's neighborhoods, the clash between these two contenders, both bold in presentation and opposing in ideology, promised to be the electoral matchup of a generation.

But Monday's announcement by Lewis's team showed that this contest is not to be. Lewis, who has flirted with a formal announcement and has been recently beset by serious health concerns, declared what many of late had feared: that the fiery labor leader won't be throwing her red CTU cap into the race.

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Mechanics / Comments (2)

Event Mon Oct 13 2014

Chicago Community Trust Releases On The Table Report

The Chicago Community Trust organized numerous dialogues, occurring in every neighborhood of Chicago, on May 12, called On the Table. The dialogues centered on "how to collaboratively build and maintain strong, safe and dynamic communities." A report was released last Tuesday highlighting the results of the dialogues.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Election 2014 Thu Oct 02 2014

Rauner Firm Selected Randy Michaels to Lead Media Company

GTCR, the private equity firm started in part by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, brought on disgraced former Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels in 2011 to run Merlin Media.

At the time Emmis Communications sold a controlling interest in Merlin Media and transferred ownership of three radio stations, two of which were in Chicago, to GTCR.

Michaels was an executive at the Tribune Company from 2007 until 2010. The New York Times published an article in October 2010 detailing the behavior of Michaels while he was at the Tribune, which included sexual harassment of female employees.

Michaels resigned from his job later that month.

Merlin Media created an FM news station on 101.1, replacing the alternative rock station Q101 at that same frequency. The station failed and has subsequently been replaced by another alternative rock station at that frequency.

Rauner retired from the firm at the end of 2012. His campaign did not return requests for a comment.

Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Environment/Sustainability Tue Sep 30 2014

Uptown Welcomes $600,000 Solar Panel Project


Solar Panels on top of ICA GreenRise Building
Photo credit: Seva Gandhi

The Institute of Cultural Affairs' GreenRise building in Uptown made headlines last year when it was given landmark status by the City of Chicago. Now it's drawn the city's attention again, this time by installing 500 solar panels on its roof. ICA GreenRise is the first non-profit and the only building outside of the Loop to participate in this initiative, joining the Shedd Aquarium as the two largest solar panel installations on commercial buildings in Chicago.

The 166,000-square-foot building was originally a four-story structure built for the Mutual Insurance Company by Fugard & Knapp in 1921, is now the largest nonprofit service center in the Midwest. The ICA's green initiative started in August 2012, when they accepted an invitation from Mayor Emanuel to join 47 others in the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative, committing to cut energy use by at least 20 percent.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Tue Sep 30 2014

Lessons Learned in Englewood: 8 Years of Reflections from a CPS Teacher

By Dave Stieber

A little over eight years ago, when I took my first job in CPS at a high school in Englewood, people of all races would look at me like I was crazy when I told them where I would be working. During my time teaching in Englewood I had people make assumptions about me, such as that I must not be a very good teacher if I teach in Englewood, because surely, if I were a good teacher I would be working somewhere else.

Obviously if people were making assumptions about me working in Englewood, they were also making assumptions about my students who lived in the community. I have written previously about when a random stranger on the bus called my kids animals and how I responded.

Through all of assumptions and stereotypes, I realized that the students I taught were all that mattered. But I also very recently came to a point in my professional career that I needed a change of schools. I am still a CPS public high school teacher on the South Side, just at a different school now. Leaving the students was and is still hard. I didn't officially make the decision until August so I told my students through email and text messages. That was the hardest thing by far about leaving. But the beauty of the students was they wanted me to be happy. Yes, they were upset and hurt, but every single student (I even messaged kids who graduated awhile ago to let them know) really just wanted me to be happy. So I write this dedicated to every single student I taught in Englewood, which is close to a thousand students.

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Mechanics / Comments (0)

Economics Thu Sep 25 2014

10 Recent Takes on Chicago's Economy

From fur trading to tech startups, this city's history has always been linked to its economic output and job opportunities.

So how are those looking today? Depends on what you look at.

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Jason Prechtel / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Fri Sep 19 2014

Fight for $15 Continues American Legacy of Social Movements

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Photo by Brian Jackson / Sun-Times

Earlier this month, fast food workers in the Fight for $15 walked off their jobs in 150 cities throughout the country. Here in Chicago, workers at McDonald's, Taco Bell and more left work and engaged in civil disobedience in front of the McDonald's at 87th and State Street. Nineteen protestors were arrested, and they were joined by figures such as State Representative Luis Gutierrez and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky.

Fight for $15 is a national movement of workers in the service sector, mostly in the fast food industry. Their main demands are a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (0)

Housing Thu Sep 11 2014

Proposed SRO Ordinance to Offer Incentives and Assistance to Building Owners, Preserve 700 Units by 2018


Press conference to announce The Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance
Photo credit: Becky Schultz

"I know that we like to fight. But there are sometimes where we have to sit down and get something done...and we got something big done in the city of Chicago," Ald. Walter Burnett said as he stood in front of dozens of community activists this morning and praised Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office and the work of the Chicago for All Coalition at press conference introducing The Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Health Care Wed Sep 10 2014

The Fight for a Trauma Center on the South Side

Activists sat outside of a construction site on University of Chicago's campus on May 19 to protest the continued calls for Chicago to get the presidential library for Barack Obama when the South Side was lacking something that seemed very essential: a trauma center.

Trauma centers are specially designed areas of hospitals to treat patients who need treatment for trauma, which includes gunshot and stabbing wounds and car accidents. University of Chicago has a pediatric trauma center at Comer Children's Hospital as well as a burn unit, but there is no adult trauma center on the South Side.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Feature

Bruce Rauner and the Illusion of Reform

By Monica Reida / 0 Comments

Bruce Rauner has been running on a promise of shaking up Springfield, which is not shocking from any political candidate. Candidates often run on the promise of making progress or taking back the seat they are running for. Rauner seems... More...

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About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Monica Reida, mr@gapersblock.com
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