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The Mechanics

Op-Ed Thu Apr 17 2014

The Parking Hits Just Keep On Coming

Chicago parking meterJust last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel bragged in a statement that, "By delivering on free Sunday parking in the neighborhoods...we're able to make a bad deal better." Apparently, making a "bad deal better," and keeping his word to his constituents, does not mean much to Emanuel. This was showcased in his recent announcement that he supports the reinstatement of paid Sunday parking in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Sunday parking fees were previously eliminated outside downtown as part of Emanuel's renegotiation of Chicago's contract with Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM).

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (0)

Transportation Thu Apr 10 2014

How Lawsuits, Lobbyists and Parking Meter Deals Led to Ventra

For the best reading experience, view fullscreen. May not be viewable in Internet Explorer 8 or older browsers. You can also read the text version below.

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Jason Prechtel / Comments (0)

Election 2014 Wed Apr 09 2014

Guzzardi Victory Gives Chicago Progressives Hope

willparkEdited1.jpg

In what was perhaps Chicago's most-watched primary this year, young idealist Will Guzzardi beat machine candidate Toni Berrios in the race for State Representative of the 39th District.

Guzzardi's victory went against dominant political assumptions--the previous incumbent's father is machine heavyweight Joe Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman and Cook County Assessor. House Speaker Michael Madigan backed the younger Berrios in full force.

Guzzardi showed that someone who is not part of the machine, and who may not be the traditional idea of a politician, can overcome the powers that be. His win showed that grassroots campaigns can be stronger than political influence and capital. Due to his bottom-up campaign and his seemingly staunch progressive stance on the issues, progressives throughout Chicago are thrilled about Guzzardi's triumph.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (0)

Justice Mon Apr 07 2014

Why the Dialogue Around the Sex Industry is Difficult

The term "sex worker" is a very broad one as it refers to anyone who works in some sort of industry related to sex. This includes prostitutes, escorts, professional dominatrixes, porn performers, burlesque performers, phone sex operators, strippers and go-go dancers. This is a catch-all term for the people who work in this industry.

It is important, before proceeding, to understand just how broad the term sex worker is to cover all of the people who work in that industry. It's also worth understanding that it's not just women who are sex workers; there are also men and people who identify as trans* who are sex workers, even though the dialogue about the industry seems to usually focus on just women.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Labor & Worker Rights Fri Mar 28 2014

Labor Board: Northwestern Football Players Are University Employees, Can Unionize

terry johnson flickr.jpg
Photo/ Terry Johnston via Flickr

In a precedent-setting decision, the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled Wednesday that college athletes who receive scholarships to play for private universities qualify as employees under the National Labor Relations Act and have the right to unionize.

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Emily Brosious / Comments (0)

Environment/Sustainability Wed Mar 26 2014

The Threats to Lake Michigan

lake michigan - photo by a. dobrowski
Photo by A. Dombrowski

Since the emergence of Asian carp in the Chicago River and other major bodies of water connected to Lake Michigan, there has been the worry over Asian carp getting in the lake.

Asian carp are native to China and almost sound like a fish seen in a cartoon. Asian carp can reportedly jump very high and have been known to hit boaters in the face, causing injury. The Asian carp can also grow to up to five feet long and weigh 100 lbs.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Mon Mar 24 2014

The 99 Percent in Illinois Cannot Afford Bruce Rauner as Governor

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The Illinois gubernatorial race is now officially between incumbent Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner. Rauner's political strategy seems to be a focus on the economy and budget, with the hope that social issues will not come to the forefront. Yet the electorate deserves to know where both candidates stand on all issues that impact their everyday lives, and this undoubtedly includes social issues. Additionally, our state's economy and budget do not operate in a vacuum--financial and social are inherently tied in politics. A look at the little he has said reveals that Rauner's election would have disastrous impacts for the 99 percent in Illinois.

Democratic governors in Illinois admittedly do not have the best record when it comes to the law. With the economy still struggling, it is not surprising that voters may be susceptible to bids for a change in Springfield. This means that Rauner has a dangerously realistic shot at beating Governor Quinn in the elections this November. Some influential Democrats have even come out in support of Rauner. This is shameful. For those of us who value the progressive laws Quinn has passed, along with those such as raising the minimum wage that will inevitably come up in the near future, it is vital that Quinn is reelected.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (5)

Public Transportation Fri Mar 14 2014

Delays, Complaints On Transit Piled Up This Winter. Is There End In Sight?

Metra in winter
Photo by Chuck Berman, courtesy of Chicago Tribune

There's been a lot of talk about the performance of our public transit system this winter.

As the snow piled, so did Metra service delays and trash on 'L' trains.

Buses didn't fare much better either. There's a chance you were freezing your butt off on one. The CTA spent three times as much money this January as it did last year on replacement heaters.

This winter is (so far) the third snowiest ever on record and it really didn't bode well for us nor for our means of transport. Only 30 percent of Metra trains were on time during the cold snap of Jan. 6-7. Metra's been highly criticized for its performance during extreme weather this January.

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Nenad Tadic / Comments (1)

Budget Thu Mar 13 2014

Pensions Should Not Be Sacrificed in Chicago's Budget Crisis

images.jpgFor some who have worked for the city their entire lives, the news that the city's credit rating has been lowered yet again hits close to home. They know that in the discourse around balancing the budget, slashing pensions inevitably takes front and center. Yet neither politicians nor the dominant media seem to call into question whether it is the retirements of hardworking people that should be one of the first budget items to get sacrificed when we fall on hard times.

Moody's Investor Service downgraded Chicago's bond credit rating last week to Baa1, giving Chicago the second lowest credit rating of any major city in the country. Detroit has the lowest. This single level downgrade was made all the harsher because it followed an unexpected triple bond level downgrade in 2013. Now, Chicago's bond rating is classified as just three levels above a junk bond.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (3)

Local Government Wed Mar 12 2014

Sun-Times Political Website Hosts Youth in Politics Forum

IMG_0042.jpgThe Chicago Sun-Times is serving up politics, deep dish style.

Early & Often is the paper's brand new website for all things Chicago, Springfield and Washington politics. It includes traditional news stories but also video stories, a data-portal, aggregated content, opinion pieces and event coverage and listings--all in one place.

"We are confident you'll find Early & Often to be the most comprehensive look at the local political scene," wrote Jim Kirk, Sun-Times publisher and editor-in-chief, to readers in yesterday's paper.

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Nenad Tadic / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Tue Mar 11 2014

What It Means to Love Your Students

By David Stieber

We teachers teach, because we love the kids we work with. Yes, we may complain about the kids at times, but they are the reason we stay late, bring work home and get up early. Thousands of teachers in Chicago put up with bad administrators or broken copy machines, because we love the students that we work with so much that we try to block out all the things that "leadership" of Chicago Public Schools does wrong.

It doesn't matter where in the city you teach or the "types" of kids that you work with, teachers come to school to enrich the lives of our city's children.

It is with this love at the absolute forefront, that what the teachers at Saucedo, Drummond, and many other schools are doing truly proves the love teachers have for their students.
The teachers that are refusing to give the ISAT have been threatened to have their Illinois Teaching Licenses revoked. There is no worse threat than that. The threat of taking away the thing we have dedicated our lives to....the ability to teach our students.

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Mechanics / Comments (0)

National Politics Mon Mar 10 2014

Big City Mayors, Including Emanuel, Talk Challenges, Success at UChicago Panel

1780704_428485477284572_1392924816_n.jpgPhoto courtesy of University of Chicago Institute of Politics' Facebook Page

The University of Chicago's Institute of Politics hosted a discussion last week on leading America's largest cities. The discussion featured Mayors Bill de Blasio, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Garcetti and Kasim Reed, of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively.

About a fifth of the country lives in one of these four metro areas.

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Nenad Tadic / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Fri Mar 07 2014

Chicago Teachers, Parents Say No to Over-Testing

Standardized achievement tests are underway in Illinois. Hundreds of thousands of students across the state began taking the exams in math and science on Tuesday. But in Chicago, some students, parents and teachers are boycotting the final year of the Illinois Standardized Achievement Test.

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Emily Brosious / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Fri Mar 07 2014

CPS Teachers and Parents Boycott the ISATs

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In a brave move last week teachers at Saucedo Scholastic Academy, a neighborhood school in Little Village, decided that they would protest administering the Illinois Standard Achievement Tests (ISAT). These teachers took a step in what may be a growing boycott of the test, and in doing so put their jobs and futures on the line.

Teachers at Drummond Elementary School, a Montessori magnet school in Bucktown, announced on Friday that they too would boycott the ISATs.

Now, testing at the schools has begun, and teachers at Saucedo have gone through with their boycott. Fred Klonsky, a retired public school teacher in Park Ridge, who has been following the ISATs battle on his blog, witnessed firsthand some of the events at Saucedo. He recalled a conversation in which:

Sarah Chambers, who is one of the union leaders, described what happened Tuesday, which is that CPS sent security into the building. But the teachers did not give the test; instead they taught about Rosa Parks, the civil rights movement, and social justice. It was great to witness.

Klonsky was previously president of his local of the National Education Association and has been active in social justice movements, most recently the struggles between Chicago's public schools and Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools administration.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (1)

Election 2014 Thu Mar 06 2014

Put Down That Latte - You're Running For Governor!

There's a good chance that, right this very minute, you've clicked on a link from Facebook or Twitter, and gotten to this article, while enjoying some sort of hot caffeinated beverage at a local establishment. Maybe you're seated at some sort of weird little round antique table, and you've got some paper to research, or some spreadsheet to format, or just some "work" to "do"... but you're easily distracted, and, hey, you secretly like being easily distracted.

Clearly, you should be running for Governor.

Or, if you're not feeling quite that ambitious, just run for Comptroller.

I'm serious here. Who would joke about something like Illinois state government?

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Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Feature

How Lawsuits, Lobbyists and Parking Meter Deals Led to Ventra

By / 0 Comments

For the best reading experience, view fullscreen. May not be viewable in Internet Explorer 8 or older browsers. You can also read the text version below.... More...

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