Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly
Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly
  1. Public Meetings Report – March 18, 2021
  2. Public Meetings Report – April 1, 2021
  3. Public Meetings Report – April 15, 2021
  4. Public Meetings Report – April 29, 2021
  5. Public Meetings Report – May 13, 2021
  6. Public Meetings Report – May 27, 2021
  7. Public Meetings Report – June 10, 2021
  8. Public Meetings Report – June 24, 2021
  9. Public Meetings Report – July 08, 2021
  10. Public Meetings Report – July 22, 2021
  11. Public Meetings Report – August 05, 2021
  12. Public Meetings Report – August 19, 2021
  13. Public Meetings Report – September 30, 2021
  14. Public Meetings Report – October 14, 2021
  15. Public Meetings Report – October 28, 2021
  16. Public Meetings Report – November 11, 2021
  17. Public Meetings Report – November 25, 2021
  18. Public Meetings Report – December 9, 2021
  19. Public Meetings Report – January 13, 2022
  20. Public Meetings Report – January 27, 2022
  21. Public Meetings Report – February 10, 2022
  22. Public Meetings Report – February 24, 2022
  23. Public Meetings Report – March 10, 2022
  24. Public Meetings Report – March 24, 2022
  25. Public Meetings Report – April 7, 2022
  26. Public Meetings Report – April 21, 2022
  27. Public Meetings Report – May 5, 2022
  28. Public Meetings Report – May 19, 2022
  29. Public Meetings Report – June 2, 2022
  30. Public Meetings Report – June 22, 2022
  31. Public Meetings Report – June 30, 2022
  32. Public Meetings Report – July 14, 2022
  33. Public Meetings Report – July 28, 2022
  34. Public Meetings Report – August 11, 2022
  35. Public Meetings Report – August 25, 2022

July 20

A highly contentious ordinance that would have raised the speed camera ticketing threshold to ten miles per hour over the speed limit from six was defeated at a meeting of the City Council. If passed, the ordinance would have reversed a change that last year lowered the threshold to six from ten. Issues the Council considered included pedestrian and bicyclist safety and revenue generation. A housing project two decades in the making finally got off the ground with the approval of funding for the South Shore Condo Preservation Program administered by the  Chicago Department of Housing. The program is designed to help longtime residents maintain their condos and temper outside investment in the community. Critics have previously complained that money to support condos and other shared-ownership residences should not be taken from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund.     

July 21

Inspector General Deborah Witzburg presented her office’s public safety data dashboards at the Chicago Police Board meeting. Included was a report that CPD recorded progressively fewer arrests since 2015 with a total reduction of forty percent. Since 2019, the number of police officers has also decreased, Witzburg noted. The force is made up of 5,248 white officers, 3,529 Latinx officers, and 2,318 Black officers. CPD Superintendent David Brown later reported that homicides are down forty-five percent in the past year. The board also considered several disciplinary actions. Two officers accused of not following reporting procedures in connection with a third officer losing his gun were given thirty-day suspensions by the board. Superintendent Brown noted that such actions are grounds for dismissal. In a case involving the fatal police shooting of Anthony Alvarez in March 2021, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended that one officer either receive a long-term suspension or be discharged and that another be discharged. The board affirmed Superintendent Brown’s recommendation that each officer receive a twenty-day suspension. The case is controversial, in part, because COPA indicated that Alvarez was shot while his back was turned and posed no threat. COPA also reported that the officers violated body camera, foot pursuit, and backup policies.

July 27

At the Board of Education meeting, CEO Pedro Martinez recommended terminating the employment for Chuck Stark and Lauren Bianchi, teachers at George Washington High School who participated in successful community protests, including a hunger strike, against the relocation of metal shredder General Iron to the Southeast Side. Following an executive session, the board voted unanimously against firing the employees, instead directing the Office of Administrative Hearings to issue a warning. After board member Dwayne Truss expressed opposition to a proposal to create a new Near South Side high school at 24th and State streets—on Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) land that used to be the site of the Harold L. Ickes Homes—Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined to renew his term and replaced him with Michael Scott, Jr., who recently stepped down from his role as 24th Ward alderman to work for Cinespace. The CHA Board of Directors signed off on the sale of the land to CPS the previous week, and the project could potentially cost CPS up to $20 million. Community advocates said the new school could be built on donated land as part of the development known as The 78.

July 28

At the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting, a dozen or so members of National Nurses United (NNU), the union representing the County’s skilled nursing staff, laid bare that the combination of short-staffing and uncompetitive pay were causing the system to hemorrhage nurses. Many of the nurses present reported feeling slighted first by the County’s reliance on contract workers who are filling staffing shortages at a higher pay rate than staff nurses. They were also irked that the Board of Commissioners approved ten-percent raises for themselves, followed by guaranteed three-percent annual raises, while making “frontline heroes” fight for months for similar consideration. They demanded that Commissioners ratify the Recruitment Incentive and Retention Bonus Pay Program Resolution, which passed, and will hopefully slow the increasing rate of turnover by offering signing bonuses to new hires and retention bonuses to existing staff. Cook County has begun distributing $1 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and Commissioners approved spending that included twenty-seven violence prevention grants to organizations and programs of about $1.5 million each.

August 4

At the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Commission on Chicago Landmarks Permit Review Committee meeting, increased funding was approved for the renovation of the Schlitz Brewery-Tied House at 9401 S. Ewing Ave. in East Side. Elizabeth Blasius, of Preservation Futures, claimed that costs for restoration had nearly doubled and the restoration can’t be completed with the $250,000 from the Adopt-A-Landmark Fund. She proposed that for the next round of funding, the amount is doubled. One of the owners, Mike Medina, discussed the hurdles they had faced in restoring the building, adding that the commission needed to determine the best ways to mitigate massive cost increases involved in restoring buildings in underserved neighborhoods. Medina said that buildings on the South Side are assessed at a lower value than similar buildings closer to downtown, so when faced with the cost of restoring them, owners may not pursue if they feel the costs outweigh the building’s worth. A representative of 10th Ward Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza said that the building had already featured in many movies and TV shows, and if it were properly restored it would likely bring more money into the area with future filming projects. The Adopt-A-Landmark Fund was further discussed as it related to funding upkeep of buildings in underserved neighborhoods, where projects may feel like more of a financial risk. Commenter Gabriel Piemonte spoke on the Shrine of Christ the King at 6401 S. Woodlawn Ave. He said the Archdiocese intended to demolish it after the 2015 fire but it was saved thanks to the efforts of the community. Now the Archdiocese wants to demolish it again and has been given initial permission to do so. He asked that the Shrine be given protected status.

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This information was collected and curated in large part using reporting from City Bureau’s Documenters at documenters.org.

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