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
  39. Public Meetings Report — January 12, 2023
  40. Public Meetings Report — January 26, 2023
  41. Public Meetings Report — February 9, 2023
  42. Public Meetings Report — February 23, 2023
  43. Public Meetings Report — March 9, 2023
  44. Public Meetings Report — March 23, 2023
  45. Public Meetings Report — April 20, 2023
  46. Public Meetings Report — May 4, 2023
  47. Public Meetings Report — May 18, 2023
  48. Public Meetings Report — June 1, 2023
  49. Public Meetings Report — June 15, 2023
  50. Public Meetings Report — June 29, 2023
  51. Public Meetings Report — July 13, 2023
  52. Public Meetings Report — July 27, 2023
  53. Public Meetings Report — August 10, 2023
  54. Public Meetings Report — August 24, 2023
  55. Public Meetings Report — September 7, 2023
  56. Public Meetings Report — September 21, 2023
  57. Public Meetings Report — December 7, 2023
  58. Public Meetings Report — February 1, 2024
  59. Public Meetings Report — February 15, 2024
  60. Public Meetings Report — April 11, 2024
  61. Public Meetings Report — May 9, 2024

February 13

A new promotion program, lead contamination in schools, and LSC member training were a few of the topics considered by the Local School Council (LSC) Advisory Board at its meeting. Elizabeth Meyers, executive director of the Office of Instructional Systems and Supports, explained the new advancement process for third, sixth, and eighth grade students. Summer school is now required for students in those grades with a final grade below C in reading or math and who have not improved with interventions—that is, receiving additional instruction where they need help. Before this school year, promotions were based on tests, not grades. Principals at each school make the final decisions about promotions. LSCAB member Froylan Jimenez asked how the board can become involved in assisting schools at risk for lead contamination, specifically mentioning McClellan Elementary. Kishasha Williams-Ford, director at the Office of LSC Relations, said she plans to invite a CPS central office staff member to speak at a future meeting. 

February 14    

Nine items related to redevelopment of current structures and sales of vacant lands were approved by the Community Development Commission during its meeting. The development of 2222 S. Michigan Avenue was approved. The developer, Hudson Michigan Ave. Owner LLC, plans to renovate the one-hundred-year-old Hudson Motor Building in the Motor Row Historic District. The project would provide thirty-eight residential units, twenty percent of which would be affordable. A restaurant, speakeasy, event space, fitness center, and eighteen hotel rooms would also be part of the development. Two public commenters opposed this project because it didn’t guarantee high-quality jobs in the community. There was extensive discussion over affordable housing and jobs. The Commission also voted to designate the sale and redevelopment of an approximately eighteen-thousand-square-foot City-owned property located at 7909 S. Exchange Ave. A proposed six-story mixed-use building would be developed, including forty-three affordable units and commercial space on the ground floor. The estimated cost is $26.2 million with TIF money accounting for thirty-nine percent, or about $10.2 million.

February 16

COVID resurgence and future virus and other potential outbreaks were the focus of the City Council’s joint committee meeting: Health and Human Relations; Economic, Capital and Technology Development. The meeting consisted solely of presentations by three vendors explaining the nature and value of their products and services to filter or block air flows carrying viruses or harmful particles. One vendor serves the White House, another specializes in rideshare protections, and a third equips operating rooms at the Cleveland Clinic. While the technologies varied, the concerns of Committee members were focused on schools, businesses, and the public at large. This meeting was the beginning of an information-gathering effort launched as a result of a September 14, 2021 resolution by the City Council calling for “public hearing(s) on currently available prophylactic products and services used against spread of COVID-19 and future pandemics.” Each vendor said that masking decisions are up to the individual entities—hospitals, schools, communities. The Committee took no action.

At their meeting, members of the Chicago Police Board learned that a free, condensed, six-week version of COPA’s full academy training will be available to individual members of the public and organizations beginning March 21. Broad topic areas include the investigation, legal, and analytic techniques used in police accountability and oversight. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) was launched by the City Council in 2016 to replace the Police Review Authority, its goal to provide civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department. The Board heard a comprehensive presentation about the educational and training programs the Civilian Office of Police Accountability staff receive. Ephraim Eaddy, first deputy chief administrator, explained that through leadership and professional investigations COPA seeks to improve policing and to build public trust in civilian oversight. Eaddy stressed that all staff, attorneys, and investigators participate in a new hire onboarding orientation, in-service training, and the COPA academy. Together this training can amount to more than two hundred hours over six to eight weeks. To date, more than 160 staff have completed the academy component. The Board also reviewed one disciplinary case in which a police officer discharged a firearm and wounded a suspect. The Police Board investigator recommended the officer be fired; the police superintendent recommended a fifteen-day suspension. The case next goes before the Police Board for an evidentiary hearing. 

The We Will Chicago (WWC) plan was published on February 10 and the Chicago Plan Commission approved it during its meeting. The plan’s goal as originally laid out by Mayor Lori Lightfoot was to support equitable and resilient development. The process used to develop the plan differed from some previous city development planning in that it applied more of a “bottom up” approach based on community involvement rather than corporate leadership. Alderman Tom Tunney expressed concern over the lack of the representation of Chicago’s corporate commercial interests in WWC’s presentation of its process. The City’s Department of Planning and Development has also provided two related documents: the “We Will Chicago Implementation Guide,” seen as a list of policy recommendations, and “We Will Chicago in Action,” a list of initiatives occurring before WWC was released.

Concerns about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were discussed at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board of Commissioners meeting. The commissioners approved the development of a policy supporting legislative efforts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration describes PFAS as a “diverse group of human-made chemicals [that] . . . do not easily break down.” They can accumulate in the human body and the environment, the FDA notes, and “exposure to some types [of] PFAS [has] been linked to serious health effects.” State and national legislation is being developed to limit exposure to the chemicals. MWRD Executive Director Brian Perkovich attended the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, which is developing a national strategy. Director Perkovich plans to provide a written summary of the conference’s work. The Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month and honoring Chicagoan Shermann Thomas, who creates TikTok videos about local Black history. The Board is also working to make its activities more transparent through its website.

February 22

Is the Chicago Board of Education holding in reserve a billion dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021? The financial secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation, Maria Mareno, thinks so, and at the Board’s meeting she called for the money to be spent. Specifically, Mareno wants the money to be released to support services such as music programs, student trauma intervention, and language interventions for immigrant students who aren’t native English speakers. The Board also heard concerns about charter schools, the need for sanctuary language, and the need for more involvement by the schools in the CPS Students in Temporary Living Situations program—an effort to ensure that the educational rights of homeless students are the same as those of students with permanent housing. Jen Conant, a math teacher at Chicago International Charter School Northtown Academy, said charter schools need to be held to higher standards for special and bilingual education. She also voiced her belief that students need protection from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Board President Miguel del Valle expressed his personal desire for all families, regardless of citizenship status, to be able to vote in school board elections.

February 23

Public bodies often create committees, but doing away with them? Not so much. Yet at its meeting the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability eliminated ten, saying that so many committees got in the way of collaboration. The formal committee structure hindered the members’ ability to work on varied topics. Since undocumented residents cannot be elected to serve as members, the Commission has established a “noncitizen advisory council.” Its purpose is to inform the Commission’s work as it relates to matters important to immigrants. The council has one member, and the Commission is looking for more. Delays in mandatory background checks have kept the Commission from submitting nominees for the Police Board to the Mayor’s Office, which has final approval. 

February 24
Key issues considered by the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors at its meeting revolved around continuing concern about vaccinations and hospital staffing in connection with COVID, as well as food and housing insecurity for participants in CountyCare, which is Cook County’s largest Medicaid health plan offering access to more than 4,500 primary care providers, 20,000 specialists, and seventy hospitals. Data from CCHHS leaders brought the Board up to date on key issues. Chief Administrative Officer Aaron Galeener reported that the vaccination rate among CountyCare members is fifty percent and is increasing between one and two percent each week. Chief Medical Officer for CountyCare, Yvonne Collins, said needs among members, such as access to health-care facilities, food, and housing are tracked by ZIP code. She noted that eighty percent of members live in low-vaccination ZIP codes, including 60644 (Cicero and Oak Park) and 60624 (West Garfield Park). CountyCare’s housing program, explained Collins, is intended to prevent evictions, provide crisis housing after eviction, permanent housing, and access to income through employment services. CountyCare-funded trucks have distributed fresh fruit and delivered meals to homes. “We want something better,” she said to remedy food insecurities as part of overall healthcare.

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