John Catanzara, the bumptious head of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, resigned from the police department last week rather than face possible firing by the Chicago Police Board. Catanzara, who had been a CPD officer since 1995, racked up more than fifty allegations of misconduct, ten of which were sustained by investigators, and was suspended from duty at least eight times during his career, according to the Citizens Police Data Project. Despite that checkered history, the union rank and file elected him their leader in May 2020, giving him fifty-five percent of the vote in a runoff election with then-president Kevin Graham. Catanzara had made a name for himself by railing against the federal consent decree that CPD remains under, and Graham had failed to secure a new contract at the time of the runoff. Under Catanzara’s leadership, the FOP agreed to a new contract this summer. As FOP president—a post he can keep as a “retired” officer—Catanzara has harangued the City Council, grassroots organizers, and anyone else who would listen to his unabashed support of former President Donald Trump, his love of Columbus, and his hatred of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Upon resigning, he announced his intention to run for mayor in 2023. His chances, unlike his CPD disciplinary file, are slim.
Libraries open on Sunday
By the end of 2021, all eighty-one Chicago Public Library (CPL) branches will be open on Sundays! CPL began rolling out Sunday hours at select locations this summer and will continue to do so throughout the rest of the year. From 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, students, families, and book lovers will be able to browse books, magazines, and music and utilize the libraries’ resources, including free WiFi and homework help. South Side library branches now open on Sundays include Archer Heights, Avalon Park, Back of the Yards, Beverly, Brighton Park, Canaryville, Chicago Lawn, Chinatown, Coleman in West Woodlawn, Douglass in North Lawndale, Greater Grand Crossing, Hegewisch, Kelly in Englewood, McKinley Park, Mt. Greenwood, South Chicago, South Shore, Vodak-East Side, Walker-Morgan Park, West Englewood, and West Pullman.
Second round of Emergency Rental Assistance
The Chicago Department of Housing recently announced a new influx of cash into their Emergency Rental Assistance Program. $102 million of federal funding will be used to offer up to eighteen months of rental assistance and utility payments for residents of Chicago whose circumstances have been impacted by COVID-19. Applicants are eligible for up to $2,500 per month for fifteen months of past due rent or utility payments and up to three months of future payments. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant, and may also register their properties using the online portal to be notified when a tenant has started the application process. Applications will be accepted at Chicago.gov/renthelp or through an in-person visit with a partner community organization starting 10 a.m. on December 6, 2021 through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, December 18, 2021.