Politics

Are the Blue Dog Days Over?

Progressives vie to oust a Democratic family dynasty in the 3rd congressional district

Ellen Hao & Lizzie Smith

A year ago, Marie Newman was a nonprofit executive, a mother, and a successful business owner. Now, she is also candidate for the United States House of Representatives. She sat across from me at a downtown Starbucks facing Trump Tower which, on this afternoon, is glistening in the sun. With only a short time to talk before she had a speaking engagement, I asked her how she got to this point and where she wants to go from here.

Architecture | Interviews | Politics

Seeing the Future

Lee Bey on conservation, preservation, and how to get fed

Photos courtesy of Lee Bey

For nearly a year, Lee Bey and I were neighbors in Pullman, living a few doors down from each other on the same stretch of workers’ cottages on St. Lawrence Avenue. We did not know each other at the time—except, of course, in the way that we all learn to recognize our unnamed neighbors with curiosity, apprehension, fondness brewed from familiarity. I can say that we definitely must have brushed elbows, standing on the 115th Street platform awaiting the forever-late inbound train; he can recall how he one day passed Cottage Grove Avenue to see me setting up the Pullman Free Library in the corner storefront. It was only after I moved out of Chicago altogether that we became Facebook friends and pieced together our neighborly past.

Agriculture | Food | Politics

Back to the Roots of the City

Urban agriculture initiatives are at the center of a plan to bring healthy fruits and vegetables to South Side neighborhoods

Katherine Hill

The summer of 1943 witnessed a remarkable collective mobilization: Chicagoans produced more than 55,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in nearly 175,000 Victory Gardens, small plots of land started by citizens to mobilize food production during World War I and II.

Opinions & Editorials | Politics | Transportation

The Metra’s Not-So-Electric Plan

The Metra can and should increase service across the South Side, and not just to Hyde Park

Ellen Hao / The Chicago Dispatch

Metra’s plan to enhance Electric District service to Hyde Park has provoked chatter on the South Side and beyond since its announcement in May. Is the return of frequent, quality service on the Electric close at hand? Unfortunately, it seems that the current plan misses many opportunities and takes as many steps backward as it does forward.

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.”

Bridgeport | Development | Features | Politics | South Shore

Who Gets to Keep the Gates?

Two aldermen claim to seek to transform parts of South Shore and Bridgeport through zoning, with mixed results

71st Street in South Shore (Denise Naim)

Murmurs and greetings circulated through the wood-paneled meeting room of Bryn Mawr Community Church as one hundred South Shore residents settled in for the monthly 5th Ward meeting on May 23.

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.

Opinions & Editorials | Politics

A New Deal For the South Side

Ameya Pawar’s progressive platform connects communities that have been left behind

Ellen Hao

Given Illinois’s current economic crisis, the upcoming 2018 governor’s election is more important than ever. For the third straight fiscal year in a row, Illinois will not have a state budget—it’s been more than 700 days since it last had one. Gun violence has spiked in recent years, the Chicago Public School system is strapped for cash, and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills has risen to more than $14.5 billion. What hope do we have for this election? How long can we keep setting ourselves up for politicians that take our votes and then fail to deliver on their campaign promises?

Education | Politics

Charter School Chokehold

Roosevelt University study points to CPS charter school policy as contributing factor for CPS budget shortfall

Courtesy of the Project for Middle Class Renewal

Chicago Public Schools’ perennial funding woes have occupied headlines since time immemorial, but recently, the bad news seems to be increasing in both quantity and severity. Recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Forrest Claypool, his CPS CEO, were forced to walk back statements that CPS schools would close weeks early if the state did not provide more money after a judge threw out their last-ditch lawsuit claiming the state’s public school formula is racially discriminatory. CPS was forced to take out a $389 million high-interest loan to keep schools open, which some aldermen compared to a “payday loan” and does not even entirely fill the budget gap. On top of that, the district is attempting to wring another $467 million it says the state owes it to make its pension payment next month, facing yet another bond rating downgrade if it does not make the payment.

Features | Labor | Politics

Cracks in the Foundation

Former employees of Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation allege mistreatment

Jasmin Liang

In mid-March, the New York Times published a warm profile of Theaster Gates’s new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., describing his creations as “monumental structures that echo abstract canvases elsewhere in the institution, but are embedded with unsung stories of black laborers and entrepreneurs.” Part of the piece also detailed how Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims at neighborhood and community revitalization through arts-related projects, had acquired the dismantled pieces of the gazebo in Cleveland where twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a police officer in November 2014. Rebuild would use the pieces, the article said, to create a memorial for Rice later this year at the Stony Island Arts Bank, the organization’s South Shore home and exhibition space.