Aldermen, union leaders and local residents have questioned the mayor’s priorities at a time when Emanuel is closing 53 elementary schools, phasing out the city’s 55 percent subsidy for retiree health care and using millions in overtime to mask a shortage of police officers.
Chicago Police led away protesters Monday who blocked elevators in the lobby of City Hall after they vowed to “cause chaos in this city” to stop a sweeping school-closing plan. Also Monday, Chicago Public Schools officials released reports providing additional details of how nine schools that are absorbing student bodies from shuttered schools plan to address student safety and the accommodations of special needs students.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s allies in the Teamsters union leadership have backed away from trying to represent airport janitors working for a company the mayor hired last year over objections from other labor leaders. The Service Employees International Union had complained that hundreds of its members lost their jobs because of a five-year, $99.4 million janitorial contract Emanuel signed with United Maintenance Cos. Inc. for O’Hare Airport.
Union leaders and retired city workers on Wednesday blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to save $108.7 million-a-year by phasing out the city’s 55 percent subsidy for retiree health care, at the same time he’s using $125 million public funds to build a new basketball arena near McCormick Place.
When Collaboraction Theatre Company takes the stage to perform its play “Crime Scene: Let Hope Rise” in select city parks this summer, actors will be telling a story that many of the people watching already know. Collaboraction and the Chicago Park District will put on the play, which explores the city’s history and prevalence of gun violence, in four South and West Side parks between July and August.
Chicagoans won’t have to come downtown this summer to enjoy music, dance, theater and movies in the parks. They’ll be available — in abundance — in their own neighborhoods.
The involuntary manslaughter trial of Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley accused in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman, won’t happen till next year, the judge in the case said Tuesday. Meanwhile, a grand jury investigation led by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb into the way the case was handled by the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office continues longer than expected and is now expected to be completed in July.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to announce this week plans for a $300 million 12,000-seat arena for DePaul University at McCormick Place — a proposal that will call for millions in taxpayer dollars, sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times. The mayor will also announce plans to build two mega hotels on McPier property in the hopes of aggressively growing convention and meeting business in Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel apparently feels free to build a new basketball home for DePaul University after nailing down the “framework” agreement on signage and night games that will pave the way for the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field and the land around it. But, that doesn’t settle the political debate about whether it’s wise to use $100 million in public money to build an arena for 18 games a year for a school now decades removed from its days as a college basketball powerhouse. Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports business consultant, said he’s “stunned” by the mayor’s decision. A domed
The chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus is demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked school board follow hearing officers recommendations to keep open 13 of 54 Chicago Public Schools targeted for closing.
Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said Monday he’s been meeting with municipal bond experts to try and identify ways to buy back Chicago’s 36,000 parking meters and he’s been told it’s “within the art of the possible.”
THE WATCHDOGS: Now under investigation by two state agencies, the United Neighborhood Organization is also facing tough questions on Wall Street from the investors who lent tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the rapid expansion of UNO’s charter-school network. The questions were prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports on state grant money paid to companies owned by two brothers of Miguel d’Escoto, a top executive of the politically well-connected group.
Backers of a Chicago casino envision a city-owned betting house as a bustling downtown gem, drawing out-of-towners to gamble in a space surrounded by restaurants and upscale shopping. Detractors have a dimmer view, saying they fear casino patrons would be predominantly locals. They point to casinos in downtown New Orleans and Detroit that have struggled, and also to existing casinos in Illinois that draw revenue heavily from not high-rollers but from penny and dime slot machines.
The aldermen say they support the plan to trade a longer paid parking day for free neighborhood parking on Sundays, two votes shy of the “silent majority” needed for City Council passage. But not everyone’s on board. Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) is concerned that extending the parking day by one hour would create a hardship for his River North constituents.
Some aldermen on city council would prefer to pay Chicago Parking Meters LLC $63.8 million in disputed claims and drop the mayor’s plan to trade a longer paid parking day for free neighborhood parking on Sundays. Aldermen vilified for their quickie-approval of the 75-year, $1.15 billion parking meter deal are afraid to do anything that might make a bad situation worse.