10:00AM Chicago City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate
I picked this one because the committee was going to rubber stamp the Mayor’s appointment of Harriet Johnson to be a Commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority. She is a long-term Chicago Housing Authority employee and will complete the unexpired term of the late Hallie Amey. The term ends July 7, 2014. Johnson, a systems administrator, has been with the CHA since October 2010.
No surprise, the Committee, chaired by 31st Ward Alderman Ray Suarez, approved the appointment.
I am involved in the campaign to preserve the Lathrop Homes so the composition of CHA’s Board of Commission interests me.
11:00AM Chicago City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection
This one made my list because my alderman, Michele Smith (43rd Ward) introduced “02012-1368, an ordinance to amend Section o4-60-023 of the Municipal Code of Chicago to disallow additional alcoholic liquor license on portions of West North Avenue.”
(Michele and I both ran for Alderman in 2007. Her campaign asked me to drop off the ballot. I didn’t. With four of us running against the incumbent Michele made it into a runoff in 2007 and lost. Michele ran again for the open seat in 2011. Once again Michele made it into the run off. This time she won. And the combined cost of her two campaigns were in the neighborhood of three quarters of a million dollars.)
Turns out Michele’s legislative initiative is intended to keep alcoholic sales out of the little strip mail near the el stop at Sedgwick south of North Avenue. Folks in need of a little somethin’ before riding the el will have to stop at the Walgreen’s a few blocks away.
1:00PM Community Development Commission
This is the group that determines/rubber-stamps the allocation of TIF funds. The TIF’s generate $500 million or so a year.
The agenda item that caught my eye was 350Green LLC, a Los Angeles company, seeking $800,000 in TIF funds for the redevelopment and leasing of space at 2500 West Bradley Place. This location is near WGN’s facility. (Not an area I think of as blighted.)
So, taxpayers are subsidizing the rent of this company that got a $1.9 million contract in 2011 from the City of Chicago to pay for part of the cost of installing 280 electric vehicle charging station (73 DC fast-charge units and 207 Level 2 charging stations) that 350Green will own, operate and maintain. The fast chargers cost a user $21 for three 15-minute sessions.
Level 2 stations are free. FREE? How do these 350Green people get FREE electricity to pass on to there customers? Maybe it isn’t really free; maybe it’s sorta subsidized by taxpayers thru TIF gifts. I guess it ain’t cheap for the taxpayers to be green.
2:30PM Public Building Commission (PBC)
I really like this one. All of the Head Honchos come together to review and agree upon building things. The Mayor presides.
Most interesting item to me was the Cook County Forest Preserve seeking $300,000 for Building Needs Assessment and Preventative Maintenance Plan Services Project. $300,000 is chump change for the PBC.
What ought to be amazing about this expenditure it that such study hasn’t been done before/yet. But then you have to know/remember that the Cook County Forest Preserve has been THE preserve of patronage since its inception.
6:00PM NATO Host Committee at Mercy Hospital
Mercy Hospital located at 2525 South Michigan is the closest hospital to McCormick Place where the NATO Summit will occur in May.
A friend who lives in the south Loop invited me to accompany her to the presentation by the Lori Healey, executive director of the NATO host committee and representatives of the police, the security consultants, and the office of emergency management featuring dogs and ponies and smoke and mirrors.
The audience was comprised of people who live and work and own business right near McCormick place.
They had direct specific questions like which streets would be closed, what would public transportation be for their employees, how would marchers/protestors be disbursed from the area even if their actions are all peaceful.
The answers were not so detailed and seemed to minimize the possibilities for bad stuff to happen. I don’t have much confidence in Lori et. al.