Notes for 1/16/19


This past week, the Weekly received a letter purportedly from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas. In it, she praised us, for “[t]o communicate by print is a noble endeavor, for you both inform your readers and strengthen their sense of community with the information you give them.” Kind words, and we do pride ourselves on not just sharing stories about the South Side but also on our high standards for accuracy. The letter, addressed to our former Editor-in-Chief, congratulated us on our twenty-fourth year of publication—which is only off by eighteen years. (Perhaps this inaccuracy came from our Wikipedia page, which we freely admit is…inaccurate, and will now endeavor to change.) Thankfully, the address on the envelope was correct, so we were at least able to accept this token of gratitude. Perhaps this letter is from the future, oddly backdated, assuring us that the Weekly perseveres to see a quarter of a century. At minimum, this letter will contribute to our rigorous fact-checking curriculum as a study in the importance of triple-checking—and that your teachers were right about not trusting Wikipedia.

Civil Rights Group Finds Housing Discrimination In Chicago

Independent researchers also found sand at the beach and coins under their couch cushions during other critical undertakings to discover things that people who don’t live under rocks already know.

According to a new report by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, some landlords in Bridgeport, Clearing, Hyde Park, Jefferson Park, Mount Greenwood, and the Near North Side do not always comply with fair housing laws. Shocking. These six neighborhoods were targeted by the city’s Human Relations Commission—which commissioned the Lawyers’ Committee to conduct in-person fair housing tests for the report—having received the most fair housing complaints in recent years. The new data collected confirmed the highest ratio of source-of-income discrimination happens in Bridgeport, while the highest ratio of racial discrimination happens on the Near North Side. (Actually, this is shocking; we would have thought it’d be the other way ‘round for those two neighborhoods.)

Testers posing as potential renters who were Black or who had Section 8 vouchers where often flat-out denied housing or quoted vastly different rental terms and conditions than their white or voucher-less counterparts during the yearlong testing period from April 2017 to April 2018. Just a reminder, federal law prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, and in Chicago, it is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of income source. If you feel you have been the victim of discriminatory housing practices, contact the city’s Commission on Human Relations at to file a complaint, as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Organizations that offer legal or other housing assistance include the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, and the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance.

Boss Chuy

Back in March 2018, a rookie candidate named Aaron Ortiz ran against the powerful state Representative Daniel Burke and—with the help of now-Congressman Jesus “Chuy” García—he won. Ortiz was a part of the “Chuy Slate”: a group of young Latinx candidates who campaigned together and won their respective races with Chuy’s support. As predicted, Chuy is assembling another such slate for the municipal elections, and he’s set his sights on Dan’s more powerful older brother, 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke (who was just booked by the feds on extortion charges). Chuy has endorsed Burke challenger Tanya Patiño, a soccer coach and former civil engineer at People’s Gas. Like Aaron Ortiz, she is young and relatively unknown. Unlike Ortiz, she’s not the only challenger in this race. Jaime Guzmán and Jose Torrez both entered the race before Patiño. (Another candidate, Irene Corral, will likely be kicked off the ballot in the coming days). But this week, Torrez told reporters that he was persuaded by Chuy to drop out and join forces with Patiño’s campaign. After the remarkable success of the original Chuy Slate, the cynics among us raised their eyebrows, speculating that Chuy might be borrowing Machine tactics to fashion himself as Chicago’s progressive “Boss.” The fact that he’s now pressuring aldermanic candidates out of a contested race gives credence to this cynicism. Defeating Ed Burke is certainly a worthy cause, but don’t the people of the ward deserve a say in his replacement? And here’s another thing: Tanya Patiño happens to be Aaron Ortiz’s girlfriend. The Burke family has had power over the (increasingly Latinx) Southwest Side for too long. But is it really progressive to replace one political family with another?

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