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Matthew Blake

Mental health care advocates voice concerns on public resources at City Council committee hearing

The first City Council committee hearing Tuesday on the controversial closing of six mental health care clinics two years ago partly turned into an airing of larger concerns about mental health service in the Chicago area.

“The mentally ill have been abused and it is a national epidemic that we have to address,” said Alderman Willie Cochran (20th), a member of the City Council Health Care and Environmental Protection Committee.

Despite contentious hearing, CDC signs off on Washington Park TIF

The Community Development Commission advanced a Tax Increment Financing district for the Washington Park community with no discussion or opposition on Tuesday despite objections from several outspoken neighborhood residents.

If approved by the City Council, a portion of property taxes collected in the district would be reserved for city-picked economic development projects within its borders. The proposed 988-acre TIF area spans all of Washington Park itself and also includes 631 acres of land just south and west of the park.

Landmark status granted to former Cairo Supper Club, Polish National Alliance buildings

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks gave a final landmark recommendation Thursday to just the façade of an Uptown building with rare Egyptian Revival architecture despite concerns about what new property owner Thorek Memorial Hospital would do with the rest of the structure.  

City Council roundup: Legislative IG shut out from campaign investigations

On Wednesday the City Council approved contentious legislation delegating review of aldermanic races’ campaign finances to the city’s Board of Ethics.

The City Council voted 41-6 to pass an ordinance making clear that the mayor-appointed Ethics Board, and not the Legislative Inspector General’s Office, would review the spending of aldermanic campaigns. Alderman Patrick O’Connor (40th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s floor leader, sponsored the measure.


City Council committee passes 911 tax; honors Byrne

The City Council Finance Committee approved an increase in the tax for the city’s emergency telephone system on Tuesday, a hike explicitly designed to stave off a property tax increase that had been associated with changes to two of the city’s public employee pension systems. 

Council committee expresses support for $12 million property tax break for Ford parts supplier

Amid fears of losing jobs to Indiana, a City Council panel on Monday approved a resolution supporting the renewal of a major tax break for a Ford assembly plant supplier.

Members of the City Council Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development unanimously expressed their support for renewal of a Cook County Class 6(b) tax incentive for the Chicago Manufacturing Campus, which owns 155 acres of land at 12525 S. Carondolet Ave., 2924 E. 126th Place, 12350 S. Carondolet Ave. and 12359 S. Burley Ave.

Zoning committee approves Austin charter school

The City Council Zoning Committee approved a combination charter school and faith-based after school program in the Austin neighborhood on Thursday.

With Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd) casting the lone vote in opposition, committee members signed off on redeveloping property at the intersection of North Laramie Avenue and West Kinzie Street.

City Council committee clears new firefighter union contract

A City Council committee advanced a five-year contract on Tuesday that will raise wages for Chicago Fire Department employees despite questions about how the deal impacts city finances and the union’s pension plan.

The Workforce and Audit Committee unanimously approved by voice vote a contract for an estimated 4,645 workers represented by Chicago Fire Fighters Union, Local No. 2. Union members have already ratified the deal, which includes an 11 percent worker pay raise over five-years with the salary bump retroactively beginning in 2012.

Walter Payton College Prep expansion advances

A $17 million, three-story annex at Walter Payton College Prep is one step closer to construction, after the city’s Plan Commission unanimously approved the project Thursday.

The approved addition is intended to add space for 300-400 more students at the popular selective enrollment school, which currently has about 900 students, according to Arthur Del Muro, managing architect for the project.

Chicago Public Library to expand adolescent digital media program

The Chicago Public Library got the green light Tuesday to expand a digital media program for young people that Mayor Rahm Emanuel claimed has “exceeded all expectations.”

The Chicago Public Building Commission Board, which Emanuel chairs, signed off on having CPL present design and budget plans for YOUmedia centers at Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.; Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted St.; and Legler Branch Library, 115 S. Pulaski Road.