Development | Features | Housing Issue 2018 | Pilsen | Politics

Who Pulls the Strings on the PLUC?

Pilsen’s Land Use Committee draws heat for cozy relationship with its alderman

Ellen Hao

They don’t want to give agendas to the community. They don’t want to give us anything,” reflected Anderson Chávez, a youth organizer with the Pilsen Alliance. The “they” Chávez was referring to is the Pilsen Land Use Committee (PLUC), an advisory committee set up by Alderman Daniel Solis (25th) to advise him on large-scale developments seeking a home in Pilsen. PLUC is intended to represent the community voice in decision making and uphold an only-in-Pilsen mandate of twenty-one percent affordable housing in all new developments over eight units. The committee is comprised of executives from four local nonprofits: The Resurrection Project, Alivio Medical Center, Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, and the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council.

Features | Politics

Mano a Mano

Inside Chicago’s Latinx relief efforts

Natalie González

Chicago may sit more than 2,000 miles away from San Juan and over 1,500 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, but the connections between Chicago, Puerto Rico, and Mexico run far deeper than geography would suggest. The city is bound to these regions by the heritage of over one million of its residents—there are over 900,000 people of Mexican descent and over 100,000 people of Puerto Rican descent living in Cook County—and by neighborhoods such as Pilsen, Little Village, and Humboldt Park that form Chicago’s ethnic and cultural mosaic.

Features | Police | Politics

The Shots Heard Round the City

Are Chicago’s new shot detection and predictive policing technologies worth it?

Ellen Hao

A gunshot is fired. Depending on where in the city it is, the sound might not just be picked up by human ears. By early next year, almost 130 square miles of Chicago will be monitored for gunshots by mechanical ears as well, via a technology called ShotSpotter.

Development | Features | Pilsen | Politics

ParkWorks May Not Work for Pilsen

The battle over Pilsen’s most contentious vacant lot

Jason Schumer

An empty parcel of land in eastern Pilsen, sitting between Metra and freight tracks and 18th Street, draws little attention to itself—but for some residents, the site has become a battleground for the future of the neighborhood. The luxury developer that owns the land, Property Markets Group (PMG), recently announced big plans for a 465-unit apartment complex on the site called “ParkWorks.”

Features | Police | Politics

Predictive Policing and the Long Road to Transparency

Why did the CPD release data from its Strategic Subject List after seven years of stonewalling?

Ellen Hao

John Doe is a Black, male teenager from North Lawndale. He is in the Chicago Police Department (CPD)’s controversial gang affiliation database. He has a petty rap sheet, with four drug-related arrests in four years. He was recently beaten up, though has never been arrested for a violent crime or gun violence, and has never been shot. There are 240 other “gang affiliated” people in the city of Chicago with similar profiles, who have been the victims of at least one assault recently and have as many or more narcotics arrests as John. But among these people, John Doe stands out— he has been given a perfect score by the CPD’s Strategic Subject List.

Education | Features | South Loop

Who Controls South Loop Schools?

CPS plans to close National Teachers Academy. Parents say it’s a political maneuver.

Jason Schumer

The National Teachers Academy (NTA), a neighborhood school on the Near South Side, is “one of the premier facilities in the school system,” one University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) expert said. Its teachers have received city and state awards. It outperforms most schools in the country for reading and most Chicago public schools for attendance, and it’s improving at above-average speed.