Bring Chicago Home is back

Bring Chicago Home is “back” on the ballot. Near the bottom of the March 19 primary election ballot, voters will have the option to support or reject the referendum that would raise the marginal tax rate on purchasing homes over $1 million to fund programs for unhoused Chicagoans. Last Wednesday, an Appellate Court ruled to reinstate and count the votes for the referendum. This ruling follows a previous Circuit Court decision on February 23, in which a Cook County judge struck the real estate transfer tax from the March primary ballot. Wednesday’s Appellate Court ruling stated that courts do not “have the jurisdiction to prevent the measure from being placed on the March 19 ballot” and would interfere with the legislative process, violating the separation of powers principle between judicial and legislative branches.

The referendum would raise the transfer tax to 2 percent on real estate sales above $1 million and 3 percent on property sales above $1.5 million, while lowering it to 0.6 percent on sales below $1 million. Proponents of the measure say it would generate $100 million each year to address homelessness.

MAT Asphalt settlement claim deadline extended to March 15

A new deadline is approaching for eligible households in McKinley Park, Brighton Park, and Back of the Yards to claim settlement funds from a class-action lawsuit against MAT Asphalt LLC alleging the plant emitted fumes and odors that polluted the area. Rodriguez vs. MAT Asphalt LLC was filed in 2020 and reached in November 2023. 

The settlement applies to residents living within a half-mile of the MAT Asphalt plant on 2055 W. Pershing Road. The settlement is for $1.2 million (minus costs and attorney fees) which would be distributed among “all owner/occupants and renters of residential property.” The settlement also mandates MAT Asphalt to complete a total of $900,000 worth of facility improvements by April 30.

Attorneys from Liddle Sheets Coulson P.C. set a previous deadline of January 22 to file a claim, opt out, or object the settlement. A judge extended the deadline to March 15 after residents expressed overwhelming concern over the legal terminology, urgent deadlines, and language barriers since claim forms were only in English. Additionally, there were complaints about accessibility after a community meeting was held on the North Side. The law firm sent revised paper claim forms to residents and more information regarding eligibility and how to claim can be found on the law firm’s website.

Business accelerator welcomes new cohort of entrepreneurs

Under the Garfield Green Line tracks in Washington Park, the L1 creative business accelerator has hosted cohorts of entrepreneurs to help them elevate their brands and test their products on the local community and the broader networks of Arts + Public Life, the UChicago Arts initiative that pioneered the program. 

After two cohorts of entrepreneurs, the accelerator is welcoming their third, comprised of Oluwaseyi Adeleke and his clothing brand, prgrssn, Soma Gems by Joli Chandler, and Callie Decor by Twjuana Simone Robinson. For the next ten months their products and services will be housed under the tracks at L1, or 319 E. Garfield Blvd, and the grand opening to unveil the cohort is on March 15 at 11am.

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