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Wednesday, October 22

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The Mechanics

Chicago Public Schools Wed Oct 22 2014

Openlands Builds Green Space for Chicago Public Schools


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at McPherson Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Openlands

Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation, celebrated its continued effort to green Chicago Public Schools with the opening of its latest school garden in Ravenswood on Friday.

A dedication ceremony at McPherson Elementary School, 4728 N. Wolcott Avenue, brought together students and teachers, as well as local school and government officials together to celebrate the garden's installation. Speakers included Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th), Bill Clarkin of BMO Harris Bank (lead sponsor), Jerry Adelmann of Openlands, Senator Heather Steans, Principal Carmen Mendoza and Bob Farster of the Local School Council.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Thu Oct 16 2014

How Aldermanic Candidates Might Adjust With Karen Lewis Out of the Mayoral Race

As widely reported, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will not be running for mayor. Previously, I wrote about how a Karen Lewis run for mayor could also have a major impact on several aldermanic races. Now that she's not running, it is worth reconsidering how the aldermanic races might be impacted.

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Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Wed Oct 15 2014

What a Karen Lewis Campaign for Mayor Meant to Chicago

By Tim Meegan

For the past several months, Chicago has been electrified by the prospect of a clash between two of the strongest personalities in city politics: the brash, business-first mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the outspoken, social justice-oriented union president Karen Lewis. For spectators in the media, and in the city's neighborhoods, the clash between these two contenders, both bold in presentation and opposing in ideology, promised to be the electoral matchup of a generation.

But Monday's announcement by Lewis's team showed that this contest is not to be. Lewis, who has flirted with a formal announcement and has been recently beset by serious health concerns, declared what many of late had feared: that the fiery labor leader won't be throwing her red CTU cap into the race.

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Mechanics / Comments (2)

Event Mon Oct 13 2014

Chicago Community Trust Releases On The Table Report

The Chicago Community Trust organized numerous dialogues, occurring in every neighborhood of Chicago, on May 12, called On the Table. The dialogues centered on "how to collaboratively build and maintain strong, safe and dynamic communities." A report was released last Tuesday highlighting the results of the dialogues.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Election 2014 Thu Oct 02 2014

Rauner Firm Selected Randy Michaels to Lead Media Company

GTCR, the private equity firm started in part by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, brought on disgraced former Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels in 2011 to run Merlin Media.

At the time Emmis Communications sold a controlling interest in Merlin Media and transferred ownership of three radio stations, two of which were in Chicago, to GTCR.

Michaels was an executive at the Tribune Company from 2007 until 2010. The New York Times published an article in October 2010 detailing the behavior of Michaels while he was at the Tribune, which included sexual harassment of female employees.

Michaels resigned from his job later that month.

Merlin Media created an FM news station on 101.1, replacing the alternative rock station Q101 at that same frequency. The station failed and has subsequently been replaced by another alternative rock station at that frequency.

Rauner retired from the firm at the end of 2012. His campaign did not return requests for a comment.

Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Environment/Sustainability Tue Sep 30 2014

Uptown Welcomes $600,000 Solar Panel Project


Solar Panels on top of ICA GreenRise Building
Photo credit: Seva Gandhi

The Institute of Cultural Affairs' GreenRise building in Uptown made headlines last year when it was given landmark status by the City of Chicago. Now it's drawn the city's attention again, this time by installing 500 solar panels on its roof. ICA GreenRise is the first non-profit and the only building outside of the Loop to participate in this initiative, joining the Shedd Aquarium as the two largest solar panel installations on commercial buildings in Chicago.

The 166,000-square-foot building was originally a four-story structure built for the Mutual Insurance Company by Fugard & Knapp in 1921, is now the largest nonprofit service center in the Midwest. The ICA's green initiative started in August 2012, when they accepted an invitation from Mayor Emanuel to join 47 others in the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative, committing to cut energy use by at least 20 percent.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Tue Sep 30 2014

Lessons Learned in Englewood: 8 Years of Reflections from a CPS Teacher

By Dave Stieber

A little over eight years ago, when I took my first job in CPS at a high school in Englewood, people of all races would look at me like I was crazy when I told them where I would be working. During my time teaching in Englewood I had people make assumptions about me, such as that I must not be a very good teacher if I teach in Englewood, because surely, if I were a good teacher I would be working somewhere else.

Obviously if people were making assumptions about me working in Englewood, they were also making assumptions about my students who lived in the community. I have written previously about when a random stranger on the bus called my kids animals and how I responded.

Through all of assumptions and stereotypes, I realized that the students I taught were all that mattered. But I also very recently came to a point in my professional career that I needed a change of schools. I am still a CPS public high school teacher on the South Side, just at a different school now. Leaving the students was and is still hard. I didn't officially make the decision until August so I told my students through email and text messages. That was the hardest thing by far about leaving. But the beauty of the students was they wanted me to be happy. Yes, they were upset and hurt, but every single student (I even messaged kids who graduated awhile ago to let them know) really just wanted me to be happy. So I write this dedicated to every single student I taught in Englewood, which is close to a thousand students.

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Mechanics / Comments (0)

Economics Thu Sep 25 2014

10 Recent Takes on Chicago's Economy

From fur trading to tech startups, this city's history has always been linked to its economic output and job opportunities.

So how are those looking today? Depends on what you look at.

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Jason Prechtel / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Fri Sep 19 2014

Fight for $15 Continues American Legacy of Social Movements

Thumbnail image for BwsUlbAIYAAu4QC.jpg
Photo by Brian Jackson / Sun-Times

Earlier this month, fast food workers in the Fight for $15 walked off their jobs in 150 cities throughout the country. Here in Chicago, workers at McDonald's, Taco Bell and more left work and engaged in civil disobedience in front of the McDonald's at 87th and State Street. Nineteen protestors were arrested, and they were joined by figures such as State Representative Luis Gutierrez and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky.

Fight for $15 is a national movement of workers in the service sector, mostly in the fast food industry. Their main demands are a $15 minimum wage and the right to form a union.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (0)

Housing Thu Sep 11 2014

Proposed SRO Ordinance to Offer Incentives and Assistance to Building Owners, Preserve 700 Units by 2018


Press conference to announce The Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance
Photo credit: Becky Schultz

"I know that we like to fight. But there are sometimes where we have to sit down and get something done...and we got something big done in the city of Chicago," Ald. Walter Burnett said as he stood in front of dozens of community activists this morning and praised Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office and the work of the Chicago for All Coalition at press conference introducing The Single-Room Occupancy and Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Health Care Wed Sep 10 2014

The Fight for a Trauma Center on the South Side

Activists sat outside of a construction site on University of Chicago's campus on May 19 to protest the continued calls for Chicago to get the presidential library for Barack Obama when the South Side was lacking something that seemed very essential: a trauma center.

Trauma centers are specially designed areas of hospitals to treat patients who need treatment for trauma, which includes gunshot and stabbing wounds and car accidents. University of Chicago has a pediatric trauma center at Comer Children's Hospital as well as a burn unit, but there is no adult trauma center on the South Side.

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Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Op-Ed Tue Sep 02 2014

Us People, Them People: Howard Street and the $15 Sandwich

By Sarah Adams

"It's just such a relief that people of quality are coming to the neighborhood," a woman sighed to me at my coffee shop. "I never thought I'd see a BMW parking on Howard. My property value must be going up!"

This woman, who I will call Kim, is a neighbor of mine. One of the few actual property owners in my neighborhood, Rogers Park/South Evanston, she owns a condo on the lake at Juneway Terrace, a posh residential development on a block that used to be sneeringly referred to as "The Jungle" by people farther up the North Shore. She is speaking, of course, about two new restaurants on the Evanston side of Howard, Ward 8 and Peckish Pig. Both of these restaurants are a couple blocks from my house. They both advertise "New American" menus with farm-to-table ingredients, cocktails that are barely 6 oz, craft beers, etc. Since they have opened, many people immediately ask me what I think about these restaurants and "how nice it is to finally have some place to go around there." Many of the comments people make about Howard street these days sound a lot like Kim's; it's hard to put a finger on why it makes your stomach wrench. Is it offensive? Kinda racist? Classist? Am I supposed to be agreeing that this is a good thing? Should I print t-shirts that say Saving Howard, One $18 Cheese Plate at a Time?

Initially I didn't know how to respond to her comment. My face flushed and I pressed my lips together and all I could think to say was, "Well, I live around here. And I grew up here, so..."

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Mechanics / Comments (7)

Urban Planning Thu Aug 28 2014

State Street Resurfacing to Be Completed in Time for the Marathon


Looking North on State Street from Randolph. Photo credit: Becky Schultz

On Wednesday morning, the Chicago Loop Alliance and the Office of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly held a community meeting to provide Loop stakeholders, business owners, and residents with logistics for the Chicago Department of Transportation's (CDOT) resurfacing of State Street -- the first since the mall removal and renovation in 1997.

With a goal completion date of Oct. 10 (just in time for the Chicago Marathon), overnight grinding could begin as soon as Sept. 8 with re-paving to begin on Sept. 22. The resurfacing (grinding, paving and re-striping) will stretch from Wacker to Van Buren.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Schools Tue Aug 26 2014

Chicago Students Want a Democratic School System

In 1995, Richard M. Daley convinced the Illinois General Assembly to do away with elected school councils and place Chicago Public Schools directly under the mayor's control.

Since then, CPS has operated under a model whereby the mayor directly appoints school board members and district CEOs -- currently Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Chicago Students Union (CSU), a student-run organization formed in 2013 in response to CPS school closures, is pushing to end that system of mayoral-control.

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Emily Brosious / Comments (0)

Education Tue Aug 19 2014

Board of Education President to Benefit from Proposed South Side Charter School

David Vitale
Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale. Photo Credit: Chandler West, Sun-Times

Last week, news broke that David Vitale, the president of the Chicago Board of Education, could profit pending the Board's approval of a new South Side charter school. Vitale is chairman of Urban Partnership Bank, which has filed suit to foreclose the same building in which the proposed school, Horizon Science Academy-Clay Evans, plans to open this fall. HSA-Clay Evans was proposed by Concept Schools, a charter school management company whose Des Plaines offices, as well as a number of their schools, were recently subject to an FBI raid.

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Becky Schultz / Comments (0)

Feature

How Lawsuits, Lobbyists and Parking Meter Deals Led to Ventra

By Jason Prechtel / 2 Comments

Cubic learned early on that if you don't win a contract through bidding, there are other ways to prevail. More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project



About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Monica Reida, mr@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

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