Guest Columns

Voting under threat in U.S.

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) In Indiana, you can’t vote unless you have a photo identification card issued by the government. In Ohio, the opportunity to vote early has been severely curtailed. In North Carolina, the Justice Department has asked a federal judge to block similar laws from taking effect this November. In(…)

Harper Court sale is progress

By Derek R.B. Douglas On July 29, the University of Chicago announced that it had sold Harper Court. That news marks another milestone in the community partnership that sparked redevelopment efforts more than seven years ago, a partnership that has been enormously rewarding and successful. The City of Chicago, local community leaders and the university(…)

Vanishing promises made to the poor of our ward

By JAY TRAVIS The commitment by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and local elected officials to ensure one-third of the housing units demolished under the Plan for Transformation is replaced for former public housing residents, and the development of an additional one-third of housing units for working families that need affordable housing on publicly-owned CHA(…)

Why a living wage?

By ALD. WILL BURNS (4TH) Chicago workers deserve a living wage. Last week, I was asked to co-chair a panel that aims to find effective, meaningful ways of increasing the city’s minimum wage. And while our leaders in Springfield work to set standards that meet the needs of Illinois, our focus will be the needs(…)

Recent concern about school inequality ignores Dyett

By Jay Travis Recently, Alds. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Will Burns (4th) demanded hearings be held after a report indicated that white students were enrolled at a significantly higher rate than African American students in Chicago’s top four selective enrollment high schools. The irony is that both Alds. Dowell and Burns have not been nearly(…)

Unpacking Burns’ ideas

Editor’s note: A column by Ald. Will Burns (4th) in last week’s Herald presented three ideas to raise revenue for the city. We asked a staff member to provide further explanation about these ideas. By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul Staff Writer In Ald. Will Burns’ (4th) column in last week’s issue of the Herald, the city council(…)

Taking a look at the options for easing fiscal crisis

By. ALD. WILL BURNS (4TH) Our city faces a crisis — how to generate the revenue to pay down $34 billion in pension liabilities. Reductions in pension benefits are not enough to close the gap. New and sustainable revenue is necessary to meet these responsibilities. In the midst of this fiscal crisis, many Chicagoans continue(…)

Why I deserve to be reelected

By STATE REP. CHRISTIAN MITCHELL (D-26) Before you elected me as your state representative, I was a community organizer with Southsiders Organizing For Unity and Liberation. I worked with families to fight for education funding reform, affordable housing and to create jobs in our communities. I later went on to work on senior staff for(…)

Why I’m running for the 26th District

By JAY TRAVIS I was born, raised and educated in the neighborhoods of the 26th District. Growing up, my grandmother told me stories of how she had to stand up to slumlords in Kenwood to ensure that her hard-earned rent paid for safe, clean housing. She pressed upon me that no matter where you were from, you deserved(…)

Why e-cigarettes need greater restriction

By ALD. WILLIAM D. BURNS (4TH) In January, I co-sponsored an ordinance to apply smoking restrictions to electronic cigarettes — namely, that e-cigarettes cannot be used in restaurants, bars and indoors. My father died 12 years ago at the age of 59 of a heart attack caused by a lifetime of smoking. Despite my father’s(…)

Why I pushed the pension bill

By STATE SEN. KWAME RAOUL (D-13) A legislator’s test of courage is not the 90 percent of votes that are easy, but the 10 percent that are not. The solvency of our pension funds, our declining bond rating, the quality of public education, essential state services and yes, the promises Illinois has made to its(…)

Take a stand on fracking regulations

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) With the support of the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental advocates, the General Assembly approved and Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last spring to regulate fracking operations in downstate Illinois. Hydraulic fracking differs from traditional methods of mining underground gas and oil as(…)

Shine a light on business

By ALD. WILL BURNS (4TH) Chicago — like the State of Illinois — is in fiscal crisis. Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Revenue’s 2010 Annual Report states on page 14 that fully two-thirds of corporations operating in Illinois paid NO corporate income tax to the state. When the state grants tax breaks to large corporations,(…)

On corporate giveaways

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) asks for a state handout to facilitate the company’s decision to stay in Illinois. ADM is a Fortune 100 company with sales last year that reached nearly $90 billion. ADM would like to leave Decatur, its home of 44 years, and move to Chicago,(…)

Why I’m not running for governor

By STATE SEN. KWAME RAOUL (D-13) First, I want to convey my deep and lasting appreciation to the men and women, from communities throughout the state, who have expressed confidence in my ability to lead Illinois as its next chief executive. I am inspired by their determination to improve life for all our residents, and(…)

Pressure reverses sprinkler rule

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) Below is a letter I sent to Gov. Pat Quinn about proposed new sprinkler system rules. After hearing from many constituents and legislators such as myself, Gov. Quinn asked the Fire Marshall to rescind his proposal late last week and the Fire Marshall complied. Thank you to everyone(…)

Founder on permission wall

Founder on permission wall

By DESI WOME First, a little basic history on the ongoing permission wall behind the Mobil gas station in Hyde Park. We always called it “the Mobil wall,” “53rd Street” or the “Hyde Park wall.” I started that wall in 1992. I got permission from the Mobil station. There was never a forged letter. People(…)

We won justice before. We can win it again.

By Tim Black People refer to him simply as “Trayvon.” As if we knew him personally. We identify so closely with him and with his parents. We think of Trayvon as a beloved young son of the entire African American people. His anguished parents displayed great dignity throughout the trial. Around our kitchen tables, it’s(…)

Thanks to Board of Ed

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) I am pleased that the members of the Chicago Board of Education agreed with our community and with me that it makes no sense to deny Canter Middle School seventh graders the chance to finish their 8th grade year in place. Closing the school now would have meant(…)

Keep Canter open

By STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (D-25) The Chicago Board of Education will soon make decisions about school closures, decisions that will disrupt communities and displace large numbers of students. One can only hope that the board’s decisions will be made with care and caution. One can only hope that dislocated students will find themselves(…)