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
  36. Public Meetings Report — October 20, 2022
  37. Public Meetings Report — November 17, 2022
  38. Public Meetings Report — December 1, 2022

June 9

At its meeting, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Commission on Chicago Landmarks Permit Review Committee recommended approval of permit applications for work on six Chicago landmarks, including the Laramie State Bank Building, Greenstone Church, and Congress Theater. It denied a permit for a rooftop addition to a two-flat in the Ukrainian Village Historic District. The new Congress Theater building ownership assured the committee that its seventeen dwelling units—studios, one bedrooms, and two bedrooms—would meet affordable housing guidelines. Plans call for an extensive $70.4 million renovation of the 1926 Logan Square music venue and revive a similar 2016 proposal under different developers. The City is earmarking $20 million in TIF funds for the project.

At a subject matter hearing the City Council Committee on Health and Human Relations: Subcommittee on Reparations heard an extensive report by a nationally known author and expert on Reparations, Kamm Howard. It also learned that record-keeping required by the Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance enacted by the City Council in 2002 may not be meeting its goal of keeping alderpersons informed about slaveholding connections of entities seeking to do business with the City. The Department of Procurement Services is responsible for collecting and cataloging economic disclosure statements (EDS). Aileen Velazquez, the department’s chief procurement officer, appointed last September, assured the subcommittee that the department has the resources to perform its duties and maintains a database of documents related to its function. The next EDS report by the procurement office was scheduled to be delivered on June 22. In the past, the Mayor’s Office has submitted similar reports. Subcommittee Chair Stephanie Coleman (16th Ward) urged Velazquez to correct this “misstep,” emphasizing that “procurement should possibly take leadership.” Of some twenty annual reports mandated by the ordinance since 2002, Velazquez reported that she has only one and will deliver the other nineteen to the committee if she can locate them. 

.June 13

The City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate learned at its meeting that hearings will be scheduled into the apparent heat exhaustion deaths of three women residents—ages 76, 72, and 68—at the James Sneider Apartments in the North Side. The bodies were found on May 14 after residents had complained to the landlord, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, about a lack of air conditioning during Chicago’s heat wave last month. The committee approved a proposal for the City to forgive a $2.7 million loan to Center on Halsted for the previously City-owned land it occupies in Lakeview. The center’s website describes its activities as “dedicated to advancing community and securing the health” of LGBTQ individuals in Chicagoland. The site reports that more than one thousand people visit the center each day. The committee also approved the sales of seven City-owned properties, including two vacant lots to Natashee Scott, who is married to recently resigned Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward).

Five Board of Education members and public attendees heard details of the system’s $9.5 billion fiscal 2023 budget at a hybrid Chicago Public Schools Budget Public Hearing. Michael Sitkowski, a deputy chief in the CPS budget department, highlighted the budget’s three main components: $8 billion for the district’s day-to-day expenses; $765 million for buildings and infrastructure; and $769 million for the debt service budget, which includes principal and interest on bonds. He also reported a shortfall of $1.8 billion. Just over seventy-five percent of day-to-day expenses (operations) goes for salaries and pensions for employees of whom ninety-seven percent support schools directly. Funding comes from federal COVID-19 relief ($730 million); local taxes and TIF funds (fifty-four percent); the State of Illinois (twenty-four percent); and other federal funding (twenty-two percent). Money is budgeted to fill school counselor and nurses’ spots and the Board is confident that goal will be reached. Public commenters urged that a so-called rainy-day fund be spent now to serve immediate student needs and that violence prevention receive more attention.

June 16

A series of technical issues, including faulty microphones, didn’t slow down the Cook County Board of Commissioners at its nearly three-hour meeting during which it spent little or no time on 201 items in an eighty-three-page agenda. Six public commenters and recognition of several individuals for community contributions and other actions were heard as each agenda item received less than fifty-four seconds of consideration on average. Public comments supported the Healthy Homes program, designed to prevent bed bugs and identify potential lead issues; improved education about HIV; an investigation on pumping station “noise and vibration issues” affecting residences; a statement of no confidence in the board for ignoring a proposal regarding registered nurses; and a union representative’s statement that alleged that Board President Toni Preckwinkle is not supporting essential workers. Individuals recognized by the board included Greg Harris, who was praised for helping to secure marriage equality in Illinois and is now honored by Greg Harris Day in Cook County (June 5); Abraham Bolden, the first Black person to work for the US Secret Service (1960); and Buddy Bear Car Wash’s fiftieth anniversary, whose founder was credited with establishing Chicago’s first car wash in 1982 on the West Side.

The extension of death benefits to families of first responders who have died by suicide was passed unanimously at the City Council Committee on Finance meeting. Several council members backed a similar move for families of first responders who died of COVID-19. About $87 million in TIF funding was approved, including $50.5 million for public building improvements such as the redevelopment of the Henry Horner Homes and LeClaire Courts and $37 million for CTA upgrades on the Blue, Green, and Brown lines. Extensive discussion about a proposed amendment to the City’s controversial speeding enforcement cameras was postponed until June 21. The amendment would essentially reverse a 2021 change that lowered the minimum speeding threshold to six miles over the limit instead of eleven. Arguments against a lower speeding threshold cited the disproportionate impact on communities of color, the dramatic increase in revenue from the ticketing system since the new threshold was adopted, and its ineffectiveness at improving safety. Since its initial implementation via a two-tiered ticketing system, annual speeding ticket revenue has increased more than forty percent to $69 million from $39 million. Interesting points made by experts included: 1) no child has been struck near a school or park in forty years, 2) lower-income Black and poor communities are ticketed at twice the rate of white communities, and 3) a large disparity in fines exists: for example, one camera out of 162 is responsible for five percent of the total revenue, probably because it’s near a hospital.

At its meeting, the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners  discussed at length the fraudulent conduct of the Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp. as determined by the City’s former inspector general Joseph Ferguson last year in connection with a violation of the City requirement that more than half of the work performed under a City contract must be performed by city residents. Patrick Blanchard, the independent inspector general of Cook County, spoke to the board about the issue. The Water Reclamation District’s discussion was in relation to a potential contract with the firm for the North Side Sludge Pipeline Replacement. Commissioners were nearly split on awarding the contract. Five voted in favor, three against, and one as present. Vice President McGowan, who voted in favor, said if the board were to penalize a company for problems that company was facing with another City agency, the board would need to develop and implement a policy at the executive level. The discussion may preview changes in the way the board reviews contracts.

CPD Superintendent David Brown reported at the Chicago Police Board meeting that homicides are down ten percent and shootings are down eighteen percent citywide. In the fifty-five beats with the highest crime rates, homicides are down twenty-five percent and shootings are down thirty-three percent. Two police officers were shot in early June and are recovering. CPD held a gun turn-in event at St. Sabina Church, receiving 400 guns and thirteen assault weapons with the church offering $100 extra for each assault weapon. A total of 5,500 guns have been taken off the streets this year, Brown reported. Adam Gross, executive director of the new Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) gave a brief update on how the newly created citywide commission and district commissions will interact with residents and CPD policy.

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

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