Lightfoot continues to break campaign promise on homelessness

In her 2018 election campaign, Lori Lightfoot promised to support efforts to create a graduated real estate tax that would generate revenue to fight homelessness. ‘Bring Chicago Home,’ proposed by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in 2018, would create an additional 1.9% tax on sales of homes over $1 million—affecting just 4.2% of properties—and generate $163 million every year to help the estimated 65,000 people experiencing homelessness in the city. Bring Chicago Home is also supported by dozens of organizations, such as Pilsen Alliance, SEIU Health Care, Enlace Chicago, Heartland Alliance, United Working Families, and many more. Yet Lightfoot has repeatedly shied away from supporting the proposal once gaining office, and last month, she and allies in City Council squashed efforts to add the referendum to the ballot in the municipal elections next February. Prior to a November 14 special meeting of the City Council to vote on whether to add the referendum to the ballot, Lightfoot asked her allies not to attend the meeting; without a quorum, no vote could be held. South Side alderpeople who failed to show up include 3rd Ward’s Pat Dowell, 5th Ward’s Leslie Hairston, 7th Ward’s Greg Mitchell, 9th Ward’s Anthony Beale, 11th Ward’s Nicole Lee, 12th Ward’s George Cardenas, 14th Ward’s Ed Burke, 24th Ward’s Monique Scott, and others. Supporters of the proposal criticized Lightfoot for going back on her word and not doing enough to address homelessness during her administration. Brandon Johnson, Cook County Commissioner and a progressive mayoral candidate challenging Lightfoot, supports the proposal and said he would focus on housing affordability and public housing if elected. Lightfoot claimed the transfer tax would be risky for Chicago; surely the fact that nearly a third of her campaign contributions last quarter were from real estate groups, who largely oppose the proposal, has nothing to do with it.

Environmental groups urge state not sell Damen Silos to MAT Asphalt owners

The owners of the controversial MAT Asphalt plant in McKinley Park are potential buyers of the Damen Silos located off the I-55 expressway. Friends of the Chicago River, alongside environmental and community groups, sent an open letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker urging the state to halt the sale of the twenty-three-acre site in the South Branch of the River to “a company with a dubious reputation for poor environmental management.” The letter reads, “The riverfront areas surrounding the Damen Silos are already identified for major ecological, public access, and recreational investments that do not align with the concept of the site’s purchaser.” The grain silos were featured in the movie “Transformers: Age of Extinction” in 2014, but aside from that, the silos are no longer in use and the state has an urgency to sell them. Michael Tadin Jr. and his family would be responsible for the environmental cleanup and Tadin Jr. said he would demolish the concrete structures and develop a base for the family’s various businesses.

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