What a night at Malcolm X College. About 300 people showed up for the first 2016 Budget Town Hall presided over by Mayor Emanuel and attended by all his department heads. Dozens of folks got one minute to ask a question or make a statement. The room was filled with supporters of the Dyett High Schoolhunger strikers. People young and old expressed their anger and aspirations, stepping up to the mike and demanding that the mayor first meet with the hunger strikers and accept the community-development proposal to transform Dyett into a global leadership and green technology academy.
There were also calls for coming clean on TIFs and releasing TIF funds into the general stream of local government agencies – especially our beleaguered public schools. I asked the mayor to release all documents proving his claim that most of the $1.4 billion sitting in TIFs on January 1, 2015 are NOT available for distribution. The mayor and his budget director actually responded. Budget Director Alex Holt promised Tom a meeting in the near future to answer all our questions on where the money is. Stay tuned.
After two years of jam packed work and hosting 17 social justice and organizing groups the CivicLab must close its doors on June 30, 2015. We’d love to hear from folks who used the space or who found what we did there valuable. Please visit our Facebook page to comment. Thanks!
There’s a new venue for community-based storytelling in town – The Do Not Submit series. On May 18, 2015 the first instance came to Lincoln Park. I went over to City Grounds Coffee and shared this seven minute story about No Games Chicago.
April 7 was a very disappointing day in Chicago’s civic life. OK, I did not agree with the results of the election for mayor and there were SOME encouraging signs of progressive independence in aldermanic races. BUT – overall ONLY a 39% turnout? 47 wards had turnout less than 50%. 27 had less than 40% and 3 had less than 30%.
What is it going to take to get people to vote in Chicago?