- Public Meetings Report – March 18, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – April 1, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – April 15, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – April 29, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – May 13, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – May 27, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – June 10, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – June 24, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – July 08, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – July 22, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – August 05, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – August 19, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – September 30, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – October 14, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – October 28, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – November 11, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – November 25, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – December 9, 2021
- Public Meetings Report – January 13, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – January 27, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – February 10, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – February 24, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – March 10, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – March 24, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – April 7, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – April 21, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – May 5, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – May 19, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – June 2, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – June 22, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – June 30, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – July 14, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – July 28, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – August 11, 2022
- Public Meetings Report – August 25, 2022
- Public Meetings Report — October 20, 2022
- Public Meetings Report — November 17, 2022
Some thirty-five years after the idea was first floated, the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) launched new civilian oversight of the Chicago police at its first meeting. Anthony Driver was elected president; Oswaldo Gomez was elected vice president. The Commission is empowered to influence the makeup of CPD’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), a civilian oversight body charged with “conducting investigations into allegations” of misconduct, and the Police Board, a civilian body that focuses on disciplinary cases. The establishment of the Commission’s broad oversight function, first floated during Mayor Harold Washington’s administration (1983-1987), was approved by the City Council in July 2021. A program of District Councils—one in each of twenty-two police districts—was also created. The councils are made up of three elected representatives. In the inaugural CCPSA meeting, public commenters stressed the importance of the councils and expressed concern that the public was not sufficiently aware of their role as a component of police accountability. Some commenters were candidates for the councils.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot presented her proposed $16.4 billion budget as a “statement of values” at the City Council 2023 City Budget Introduction meeting. The mayor touted plans to create a Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Equity ($640,056), pilot a tiny homes initiative to address homelessness ($3 million), and pre-pay pension obligations ($242 million)—all without the $42.7 million property tax hike she had initially planned on. Themes in the presentation cited her administration’s programs, investing plans to head off problems, and generally getting the City’s financial house in order. A number of initiatives rely on one-time federal government grants drawn from American Rescue Plan funds.
At its meeting, the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) Land Transactions Committee approved the sale of a vacant Garfield Park warehouse to Tru Delta, LLC, for $175,000. The property, which owes more than $450,000 in unpaid taxes, is slated to serve one hundred entrepreneurs annually as part of the The K initiative, a proposed $1.1 million business accelerator, incubator, and coworking space. While supportive of the venture—“It’s a very strong proposal”—Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox characterized the proposal as “bare bones” and expressed concerns: “I just want to make sure you’re not underestimating what it takes to bring this building back to life.” An amendment to CCLBA policies and procedures, which was not available for public viewing, passed for review by the full board. It’s believed that the amendment seeks to limit the influence of external forces—City Council members, for example, and other branches of local government—on the board’s decisions. There were no public commenters.
Issues of governance, Open Meetings Act compliance, and staffing shortages were discussed at a meeting of the Chicago Housing Trust. (This body was formerly known as the Chicago Community Land Trust.) Member Kathryn Tholin pointed out that the trust is seriously understaffed to meet its responsibilities as well as underfunded without recourse to resolve these two issues. The status of several committees was reviewed, including marketing (its first Trolley Tour is scheduled for October 15); finance (“in pretty good shape,” thanks to recent grants, said member Calvin Holmes); members voted to establish a standing governance committee. The projects and policy committee reported that thirty-seven percent of the $3 million available for the Affordable Homeownership and Housing Program (AHHP) has been expended.
At its meetings, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and Permit Review Committee heard updates about Adopt-a-Landmark funds supporting renovation of two historic Gilded Age structures on the South Side: Greenstone Church in Pullman and Glessner House on Prairie Avenue. Adopt-A-Landmark funds are generated from downtown development zoning fees and are projected to cover ninety-five percent ($1,084,235) of renovations for the church, including a crumbling serpentine stone facade and the main tower. Built in 1882, the church is home to a United Methodist congregation. Restoration to prevent leaks in the walls, roof, and gutters at Glessner House has been completed thanks to a $100,000 grant made in February. Completed in 1887, Glessner House is a National Historic Landmark.
In a City Council 2023 City Budget Hearing, members learned that the Department of Finance’s postage budget has more than doubled to $100,000 in 2022 from $48,365 in 2021. Comptroller Reshma Soni attributed the increase to mailed reminders related to the Clear Path Relief pilot program, which aims to reduce the debt burden of vehicle-related fines and fees on low-income Chicagoans. Traditional mailing was necessary because digital reminders would not have reached Chicagoans without internet service. Members also heard reports from the City’s budget director, Susie Park; chief financial officer, Jennie Huang Bennett; and comptroller, Reshma Soni. Members learned that the City’s “debt load” is $26 billion and heard that, in response to Council members’ questions, the City manages risk from the “top down.” A risk management group “evaluates across many departments,” explained Soni, and the City works with legal and police departments to mitigate risk and to keep insurance companies up to date on its processes. Now that environmental health and safety are within the Department of Finance, the City can work with those areas more routinely to reduce injuries. 39th Ward Ald. Samantha Nugent noted that “we’ve had catastrophic damage” from storms and are calling on federal assistance—$155 million for affordable housing, for instance. Park reported that a broadband project originally designed to serve CPS students is being expanded.
At a hearing on the City Council 2023 City Budget, Council members heard reports from the City Clerk, City Treasurer, and the Department of Human Resources. Items covered by the clerk included city sticker sales and the absence of discounts for disabled persons, increased availability of city forms in different languages, reduced CTA fares for caregivers, and reconsideration of the size of city fines (Clerk advocated they be lower) and late fees (currently $7 to $8 million in revenue). The treasurer asked that more scholarships be distributed to high school students and reviewed salary increases. Pension fund issues were also reviewed, and the treasurer was commended for their work. Human resources reported that its staff is attempting to improve hiring by increased recruiting in diverse communities, hosting job fairs, speeding up the hiring process (candidates drop out due to its length), and better internal communication. Ninety new CPD hires were made this year.
This information was collected and curated by the Weekly in large part using reporting from City Bureau’s Documenters at documenters.org.