Chicago wins elected school board
Chicago will be transitioning to a fully elected school board by 2027, according to a bill signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on July 29. The city currently has a seven-member school board appointed by the mayor; under this bill, a hybrid board will be installed in 2025. The hybrid board will include 11 members appointed to two-year terms, including the board president, and ten members elected to four-year terms. By 2027, the board will consist of 11 elected members. Only U.S. citizens will be eligible to run and vote, though a proposal currently in the Illinois Senate would allow non-citizen parents and guardians to vote for the elected school board. The bill is a win for advocates from the Chicago Teachers Union, Raise Your Hand Illinois, the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, and the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, who among many others have been pushing for an elected school board for years—though some say the transition period is still too long. The first elections will be held in fall of 2024.
Eviction moratorium extended
On August 3, the CDC issued a new eviction moratorium that could cover ninety percent of renters in areas where there are surging cases of COVID-19. The new moratorium will last until October 3. While states and cities have yet to adapt their policies to this specific moratorium, the extended time frame could help them exhaust over $45 billion in rental assistance—only $3 billion had been allocated by the end of June. The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing and Loyola University predict a backlog of at least 30,000 evictions in Chicago alone. While harassment and illegal evictions are likely to continue behind closed doors, remember: tenants always have the right to fight an eviction in court. Organizations like Legal Aid Chicago and Lawyers Committee for Better Housing provide free legal counsel to tenants facing eviction, and tenants rights organizations like the Chicago Tenants Movement and the Metropolitan Tenants Organization can advise on navigating complex circumstances with your landlord. If an eviction is filed, a tenant is legally entitled to stay in their home until the court sends the county sheriff to carry out the eviction, which can take up to eight months. Lastly, although rental assistance programs at the city level have closed for now, there are still rent and utility bill assistance programs available through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and Cook County recently announced the Legal Aid for Housing and Debt program as an alternative for landlords and tenants who want to reach a solution without going to court.
A Cubs obituary
Meanwhile on the North Side, the Cubs went through an upheaval that sent shock waves throughout Major League Baseball. In what can only be described as a fire sale, the Cubs traded away the heart of their 2016 curse-breaking championship team. Gone are core players Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez. With their contracts set to expire at the end of this season and Cubs ownership crying broke, it was a move that many saw coming after a recent eleven-game losing streak. Management traded away seven players within about twenty-four hours, with players heading off to New York, San Francisco, Oakland and the South Side. Yes, even the White Sox got in on the action, acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel. The trade between the Cubs and Sox serves to underscore the opposite directions of the clubs. While the Sox are looking like a lock for World Series baseball, the Cubs have closed the book on the season, and truthfully many seasons, with fans hurting over the loss. The 2016 Cubs team will forevermore be compared to the 1985 Bears: overwhelming talent that took on their respective leagues like meteors, only to burn out far too quickly.