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Subscriber Update
Friday, March 4, 2016

Council Meetings & Agendas

Tuesday, March 8
11:00a - Committee on License and Consumer Protection, Room 201A - Agenda
1:30p - Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, Room 201A - Agenda

Wednesday, March 9
1:00 - Committee on Transportation and Public Way, Room 201A - No Agenda Online

Thursday, March 10
10:00 - Committee on Budget and Government Operations, Council Chamber - Agenda
Noon - Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, Room 201A - No Agenda Online

Friday, March 11
10:00a - Committee on Finance, Council Chambers - No Agenda Online

Monday, March 14
10:00a - Committee on Housing and Real Estate, Room 201A - No Agenda Online
10:00a - Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards, Council Chambers - No Agenda Online
Noon - Joint Committee: Human Relations; Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation, Room 201A - Agenda

Wednesday, March 16
10:00a - City Council, Council Chambers

Tuesday, March 22
10:00a - Committee on Housing and Real Estate, Room 201A - No Agenda Online


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Ald. Napolitano: If Aldermen Can Approve Stop Signs, They Should Get To Approve Airport Runways
by Claudia Morell - claudia@aldertrack.com

A freshman North Side Alderman who says his office has been inundated with complaints about jet noise around O’Hare Airport since he got elected has a plan to put the City Council in charge of approving all construction projects at the international airport, including those planned as part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP).

Ald. Anthony Napolitano, whose 41st Ward includes O’Hare, introduced an ordinance in January that would prevent Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans from completing or starting any new construction projects at O’Hare until the City Council has a chance to look over and vote on the plans. Specifically, Commissioner Evans wouldn’t have the authority to “manage and control all matters and things pertaining to the construction, reconfiguration, decommissioning, and destruction of runways and taxiways,” without first obtaining approval from the City Council’s Aviation Committee through a public hearing on the matter.

For Ald. Napolitano, the ordinance is about transparency and giving residents an ability to object to any new projects that would lead to more jet noise in their neighborhoods.

“We need to have the ability to talk about what’s going on,” Ald. Napolitano told Aldertrack, giving the example of the 10-year-long rollout of the $1.3 billion O’Hare Modernization Program. “No one has talked about how it has impacted the quality of life with the plane volume.”

The city has a commission that handles issues of jet noise at O’Hare Airport. The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) holds regular meetings and works with the city to address issues of jet noise, but they can only make recommendations.

Napolitano has publicly asked but been rebuffed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be named to the Commission to replace Catherine Dunlap, the 41st Ward’s ONCC Designee. She was appointed during former 41st Ward Ald. Mary O’Connor’s term in office.

It’s not Napolitano's first perceived slight from the Mayor. Napolitano has accused the Emanuel of political retribution, saying the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals went against his wishes by approving a medical marijuana dispensary in his ward. Napolitano alluded to DNAInfo the Mayor was getting back at him for voting “no” on the 2016 budget.

Ald. Napolitano says that if Council approval is required for routine traffic signs, it should also be required for runways at O’Hare Airport. “I’m going to go to a [Council] committee to talk about a stop sign, but I can’t talk about a runway. That’s ludicrous.”

In a private briefing on the ordinance Wednesday with various members of the Aviation Committee, the Department of Aviation, and the Mayor’s Office, Ald. Napolitano was told to “make [the ordinance] go away,” he tells Aldertrack. “They said it’s in direct conflict of what they want to do.”

“This ordinance is a step in the wrong direction for the city of Chicago and the residents who live near O’Hare International Airport,” Commissioner Evans responded in a written statement to Aldertrack. “Specifically, the ordinance would result in severe economic implications for the city, stunt O’Hare’s growth as a world-class airport, and jeopardize the important progress the city is making in providing noise relief for residents.”

A halt of construction would mean an end to a big employment initiative from the Mayor. The Emanuel Administration has estimated over the next few years, the OMP “will create more than 5,000 construction and professional services jobs... and an opportunity to turn hundreds of entry-level jobs into opportunities for our underserved communities.”

Other caveats from CDA: it would jeopardize “hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding that the City has already received for O’Hare; violate state law and various intergovernmental agreements with surrounding suburbs; and mandate that CDA operate its airports contrary to FAA safety standards and regulations.   

The morning before the briefing, Ald. Napolitano’s office sent out an email blast to constituents with the subject line: “O’Hare Noise - WE NEED YOUR HELP.”

In the email and to his roughly 3,900 Facebook followers, Ald. Napolitano encouraged residents to email all 18 members of the Council’s Aviation Committee and demand a hearing on the ordinance. A handful of ward offices we spoke to yesterday confirmed that they received a noticeable number of emails.  

Asked if the campaign was an effort to force Aviation Committee Chair Mike Zalewski’s hand, Ald. Napolitano said no. He wanted to show his colleagues how big of an issue this is in his neighborhood. “The thing is, that I have received hundreds of thousands of complaints, others don’t realize the flight volume and how bad it is.”

Ald. Napolitano says his ward office gets at least 69,000 complaints a month, and that it was one of the biggest issues in the 2015 aldermanic election. “I have people calling my office in frustration, kids aren’t sleeping, houses rattling, these are people that never had planes flying over their house [a few years ago].”

Following the briefing, Ald. Napolitano sent a follow up email to his colleagues on the Aviation Committee to clear up issues brought up, specifically as it relates to the new 9C/27C runway planned as part of the OMP. The opening of that runway, according to Commissioner Evans’ 2016 budget testimony last fall, will “mark the completion of all O’Hare modernization projects on the south airfield.”

But Ald. Napolitano’s ordinance puts a big dent in that plan. It calls for the immediate reopening of a diagonal runway the Department of Aviation closed last year to make way for the construction of that new runway.

“The Commissioner continues to state that the FAA will not allow 14L/32R [the diagonal runway] to reopen although it was open and being used just seven months ago,” Ald. Napolitano explained in an email sent to aldermen on the Aviation Committee yesterday. “If this Ordinance is passed, The Department of Aviation would be required to notify the FAA of their intent to open diagonal runway 14L/32R. The FAA has complete authority to reject this request if the runway poses any threat to the safety of airline passengers.”

That means if the ordinance passes, construction on the new 9C/27C runway would have to stop until Commissioner Evans briefs and receives approval from the Council’s Aviation Committee.

 

Assessor’s Office On 12th Ward: We Didn’t Pick The Early Voting Spot On Purpose
by Mike Fourcher – mike@aldertrack.com

The Cook County Assessor’s office decided to weigh in on the fight between incumbent 12th Ward Democratic Committeeman Tony Muñoz and challenger George Cardenas. Yesterday we reported a flyer Muñoz’s campaign has been passing out promoting a property tax rebate seminar by the Assessor’s office at the same location and time as early voting, the McKinley Park Field House. It’s not a surprise that Cardenas’ campaign isn’t too happy about the arrangement.

State Sen. Munoz, “is guilty of [voter fraud] for handing out tax rebates at the polling place,” Cardenas campaign manager and 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez told Aldertrack Tuesday.

Following our report, Cook County Assessor spokesman Tom Shaer contacted Aldertrack to ensure their office was not involved in any shenanigans.

“Senator Muñoz went through my department by phone weeks ago (approximately February 12th) and requested we answer the many questions his constituents have re: property taxes,” said Shaer in an email.

“It was my personal decision to use McKinley Field House,” Shaer added. “However, we require input from officials. My coordinator definitely talked to Senator Muñoz’s office about what location would work, and I usually go with whatever facility we’ve used in the past.” Shaer said they’ve held multiple events at McKinley in the past, and he was totally unaware of when early voting began when the event was scheduled.

Also: Recognize the name Tom Shaer? He’s the Channel 5 sportscaster you remember from the 1990’s. He left NBC5 in 1999 and broadcasting in 2009.

 

Hearings On Airbnb Regulations Pushed For At Least Another Month   
by Claudia Morell - claudia@aldertrack.com

There won’t be any Council action this month on two competing plans to regulate room-sharing businesses like Airbnb in Chicago. The Council’s License Committee released its agenda for next week’s meeting, noting both plans will be immediately referred to a joint License and Housing committee meeting. The time and date of that meeting is still unknown, a legislative aide for the License Committee told Aldertrack.

In January, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance  on behalf of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection that would regulate the industry and bring in an estimated $1 million in revenue.

The money would come from a 2% surcharge on the booking of any shared-housing unit, bed-and-breakfast or vacation rental. Hosts and house-sharing companies would be required to register their units with the city. Units that are rented out more than 90 nights a year would be required to register as a licensed bed-and-breakfast or vacation rental. Liability insurance would be required for all rental units. Airbnb, VRBO, and other companies that facilitate transactions between hosts and renters would have to receive a new “short-term residential intermediary license.”

“This new license will require the companies to provide the city with the information and data it needs to effectively monitor and regulate this new license type and compliance with city ordinance,” according to the Mayor’s Office. Revenue generated from the proposal would be used toward initiatives to “promote affordable housing, with a focus on reducing homelessness among families with children.” North Side Aldermen Ameya Pawar (47) and Joe Moore (49), who also chairs the Council’s Housing Committee, are co-sponsors.

The following month, Aldermen Anthony Napolitano (41), Pat O’Connor (40) and Marge Laurino (39) co-sponsored a similar ordinance, but aimed at restricting rentals in single family homes. Their plan includes the 2% surcharge on roomshare stays that would go toward affordable housing initiatives the Mayor’s ordinance has, in addition to proposing a ban on renting out apartments in multiple transactions for overlapping periods, or renting less than the whole space during a single transaction.


Early Voting Update
The Chicago Board of Elections reports the following:

UNOFFICIAL Early Voting - Day by Day - Citywide data thru 6 pm, March 2, 2016

190 Feb 17 1 site
194 Feb 18 1 site
194 Feb 19 1 site
48 Feb 20 1 site
36 Feb 21 1 site
192 Feb 22 1 site
192 Feb 23 1 site
159 Feb 24 1 site
173 Feb 25 1 site
198 Feb 26 1 site
114 Feb 27 1 site
65 Feb 28 1 site
9,330 Feb 29 51 sites
6,018 Mar 1 51 sites
6,603 Mar 2 51 sites
  Mar 3 51 sites
  Mar 4 51 sites
  Mar 5 51 sites
  Mar 6 14 sites
  Mar 7 51 sites
  Mar 8 51 sites
  Mar 9 51 sites
  Mar 10 51 sites
  Mar 11 51 sites
  Mar 12 51 sites
  Mar 13 14 sites
  Mar 14 14 sites
23,706  Unofficial Total  

UNOFFICIAL Cumulative: Feb. 17, 2016 thru 6:00 pm, March 2, 2016
Ward ......Early Voting Ballots
1 384
2 418
3 732
4 696
5 570
6 544
7 701
8 652
9 695
10 438
11 640
12 247
13 1,532
14 232
15 138
16 267
17 476
18 680
19 1,047
20 325
21 641
22 171
23 588
24 250
25 275
26 235
27 380
28 315
29 489
30 192
31 188
32 320
33 316
34 853
35 185
36 228
37 408
38 472
39 477
40 409
41 767
42 471
43 535
44 444
45 451
46 379
47 506
48 557
49 397
50 393
  23,706
Ward Reports
  • PSA: Many ward and city offices will be closed Monday for Pulaski Day. 
  • The Progressive Reform Caucus is hosting a "Tour de Fork" fundraiser, featuring foods from the 11 wards progressive aldermen represent on March 24th at Catalyst Ranch. Advance tickets are $50. 
  • Ald. Joe Moreno (1) is planning a press conference to push for passage of his property tax relief ordinance next week. He also said the House voting for an elected representative school board (ESRB) in Chicago is the "First good news from Springfield in a LONG time." Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) agreed. But Ald. David Moore (17) was worried about the size: "A 21 member board on the surface; without me having all of the reasonings for such a large board, spells potential chaos to me."
  • Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) is holding his quarterly community meeting this Saturday. 
  • Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10) shared this wait for it... wait for it... video of a bridge at the 138th & Torrence being demolished. 
  • Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) shared this DNAInfo story on abandoned South Side buildings, and says he is working with Health & Environmental Protection Chairman Ald. George Cardenas (12th) to schedule hearings on the city's Animal Care and Control centers. 
  • Ald. David Moore (17) says "Things are not always what it seems" when it comes to Rep. Ken Dunkin, sharing a story about how his win could "free other black lawmakers." He says, "Always look at the foundation and history of a person; not a situation or moment in time."
  • Ald. Matt O'Shea (19) is the most excited we've seen anyone for new shopping carts.
  • Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29) met with Minister Walter Jones, Interim Police Supt. John Escalante, and members of Fathers Who Care yesterday. 
  • Ald. Deb Mell (33) and the police Commander of the 17th District have established a Hispanic Outreach Community Beat Meeting "to strengthen our partnership between CPD and the Hispanic Community." The first meeting is Mar 30. 
  • Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) donned a conductor's hat for the Early Vote Express this Saturday. 
  • Ald. Marge Laurino (39) invited constituents to hear updates about developments around the closed Independence Library on Mar 22. The old one burned down. 
  • Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) is "Looking forward to seeing Skinny Sheahan do the backstroke" at the Polar Plunge
  • Ald. Tom Tunney (44) thanked "the many residents and business owners who continue to call and email Mayor Emanuel and our office in support of the promised 25 police officers in this first quarter of 2016." 
Campaign Inbox
Got some campaign mail? Scan and send us a PDF at info@aldertrack.com.
  • State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt put out another mailer attacking her opponent, former Ald. Bob Fioretti. The mailer imitates a school report card, giving Fioretti “F’s” for the subject of “ethics and integrity.
  • U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin endorsed Kim Foxx for State’s Attorney. “Between her 12 years as a prosecutor and her time championing progressive reforms, Kim Foxx is more than ready to lead the state’s attorney’s office and restore faith in our justice system,” said Senator Durbin in the release. The official endorsement announcement is today at Millennium Station (8:30am).
  • The group Illinois Safety & Justice put out a mailer in support of Kim Foxx. It features a picture of a hand trying to record a video on an iPhone with the caption, “With Kim Foxx as State’s Attorney, NO ONE WILL BE ABOVE THE LAW.”
  • Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras will host a demonstration and press conference on Saturday to demand IL Speaker Mike Madigan release House Bill 141 from committee for a floor vote. The bill, introduced by State Rep. Ken Dunkin, would end red light and speed camera enforcement in Chicago. Madigan’s challenger, Jason Gonzales, is expected to join the demonstration, according to press release the group issued.

Chicago Political News

Teachers union: Furlough days ‘all but assures’ strike April 1 [Sun Times]
April 1 teacher strike 'all but' assured, CTU says [Crain's]
CPS Teachers Forced to Take 3 Unpaid Days Off, CTU Promises Strike [DNA Info]
CPS Announces 3 Furlough Days for Employees [NBC5]
CPS Orders Three Furlough Days For All Staff [ABC7]

Illinois House passes bill to create elected CPS board [Sun Times]
We're closer than ever to an elected school board in Chicago [Crain's]
Illinois House Overwhelmingly Approves Of Electing Chicago’s School Board [WBEZ]
Illinois House Approves Bill for Elected School Board in Chicago [NBC5]

Former Chicago Police Supt.: Code of Silence ‘Has Always Existed’ [NBC5] - Former Chicago Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek worked for Mayor Jayne Byrne.

Anita Alvarez's re-election could hinge on voters' view of Laquan McDonald case [Tribune]

Foxx capitalizes on personal story, political ties in state's attorney race [Tribune]

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin endorses Kim Foxx for state’s attorney [Sun Times]

More says she'll bring 'solutions' to state's attorney's office [Windy City Times]

Foxx battles to unseat Alvarez [WIndy City Times]

Sneed: FBI joins probe of Quintonio LeGrier’s death [Sun Times]
FBI Investigating LeGrier, Jones Shooting Deaths [ABC7]

Olive-Harvey project restarts, as state threatens to sue [Sun Times]
Construction project at Olive-Harvey College resumes, despite state budget impasse [WGN9]

Emanuel vows to forge ahead with Post Office condemnation [Sun Times]
Old Main Post Office and Eminent Domain: What Could Go Wrong? [DNA Info]

Helmut Jahn has a big idea for George Lucas: Revamp McCormick Place [Tribune]

This Could Be Chicago's Next Skyscraper: Helmut Jahn Tweaks Tower Plan [DNA Info]

Michael Madigan Challenger Jason Gonzales Calls 22nd District "A Very Winnable Race” [NBC5]
Early Voting Soars in Madigan vs Gonzales Race [Chicago Tonight]

Which Race Is More Important Than President? Committeeman [DNA Info]

Committeeman candidates give views [Nadig] - 41st Ward Democratic Committeeman debate.

Chicago woman says voters deserve to know about Cook County judge's past [Fox32] - Judge Fredrick Bates is on the ballot March 15.

Referendum 'To Protect ... Character of Logan Square' Hits Ballot [DNA Info]

Strong Early Voting Turnout At Cook County Polls [ABC7]


Opinion

Zorn: Ken Dunkin is no rebel

Brown: Elected school board a good idea, funding fix a better one

Sun Times Editorial: Let CPS, not a state board, run all Chicago’s schools

Getting around Chicago faster

Chicago is getting less segregated, right? Wrong.

Even in Chicago, beware of lead in drinking water

Additional Aldertrack Resources
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